Want to Guide an Achilles athlete in the 2018 TCS NYC Marathon?

Being a volunteer marathon guide can be a life-changing experience!  If you would like to guide in the NYC Marathon on Nov. 4, 2018, please complete this application between July 1 and 31, 2018.  If you have questions, please email Jenna Goretzki at jgoretzki@achillesinternational.org


A Two-Way Street

Volunteers are an important part of the Achilles community and take on numerous roles, such as:

  • Helping disabled runners become familiar and proficient with special equipment
  • Participating in weekly or bi-weekly workouts
  • Providing guidance and running advice during races and marathon
  • Helping out with race-day logistics.

While their general role is to accompany disabled runners during the course of a workout or race, on any given day an Achilles volunteer will function as a member’s eyes, ears, guide, and motivator. But ask any Achilles volunteer why they do it, and you’ll hear the same answer, over and over: they get back as much as they give, and more.

"Walking as a Volunteer with Achilles makes you a better person. The first time I walked with a visually impaired athlete during the Achilles Marathon in Prospect Park, she was able to tell me about the areas we were walking by.  The birds and the open fields. I had the vision but missed what she heard by walking with me. I have learned to take better notice of the beauty in everyday life. We learn that you can accomplish whatever you want, there are only abilities no disabilities in life you just have to take advantage of them."   - Achilles Volunteer

How to Volunteer

To become an Achilles volunteer you must complete a volunteer application form. Download a pdf of the paper form below and fax or mail it to us. 

Achilles International
42 West 38th Street
NYC 10018

Phone: 212-354-0300 

fax: 212-354-3978
e-mail: volunteers@achillesinternational.org

*NYC CHAPTER VOLUNTEERS! Please click here to find out about all the local Achilles workouts and events!

Achilles Volunteer Application Form

This form is a General Volunteer Form. It is NOT an application for the NYC Marathon. 

Achilles Member and Volunteer Handbook


Achilles has some of the most amazing volunteers, many of whom have been with us for years! We want to recognize them here every month. To nominate someone, please email Fiona.  

This month, we highlight volunteer Mark Shortliffe!

How and when did you first hear about Achilles?

I had seen Achilles for years at races and especially at the NYC Marathon. As a kid growing up in the 80s, my dad and I would watch the marathon on TV and I was always amazed by the athletes with disabilities, especially with vision loss and amputations. At the time I didn’t know that this was largely Achilles, but still my earliest idea of what running is and could be always involved a diverse community of differently-abled athletes. 

When did you first become a volunteer?

I first became an Achilles guide when the Brooklyn Chapter started in April 2015. I owe a huge thanks to Nicoletta Nerangis for starting the chapter and leading it so tirelessly and with so much love every day! I have since participated with other chapters and met athletes and guides from all over the world!! But I am especially happy to see how strong and large the Brooklyn chapter has grown in the past few years. It is so wonderful to see athletes and guides have more and more opportunities to gather and run/walk together.

What has that experience been like for you?

Amazing! Although I was a bit nervous to first participate I knew that I would love the experience. The reality has surpassed my wildest expectations. The Achilles family is so warm and welcoming that any nerves immediately disappeared.  Prior to Achilles I didn’t really know anyone with traumatic brain injuries, amputations, vision loss, autism, etc. So, my nervousness was based in not knowing what to do. I didn’t figure how generously athletes would say hello and guide me into learning about how they run and live. It has been a beautiful education that has truly grown my family. To say I have been inspired is not enough, although, of course, I have been. I have learned so much about what is possible in the world and in myself. 

Describe one or two special memories being an Achilles volunteer/guide.

There are too many to pick just one or two—a freezing wet Staten Island Half with Jenny Hwang, countless pizza and pasta dinners; fun pre-race sleep overs with Ray Murphy; NYRR Club night, and an amazing BBQ in Prospect Park very recently. But one memory does embody what I love about Achilles so much. After finishing last year’s NYC Marathon with John Pierre, a huge group of other Achilles athletes and guides, many of whom had participated in the marathon that day, stayed at the finish line late into the dark to watch our good friend Michael Ring, an Achilles Brooklyn member and an active marathoner and a leader of the Prospect Track Club for many years, complete his first NYC Marathon in the years since he was paralyzed by Guillain-Barre Syndrome. When I first met Michael in 2015 at the first day of Achilles Brooklyn he was in a wheelchair. Over the years, I watched as his tremendous strength and determination saw him stand and walk again. And here we were, a big Achilles family, cheering him on in the dark, as he ran across the finish line. It was an amazing ending to a very special day.

Please name one or two athletes you have guided.

I have guided a number of athletes on weekly training runs and in races but many many more have become friends through the amazingly strong community that is Achilles. I am especially happy to have guided The Ultimate Running Machine John Pierre in last year’s NYC Marathon and Jenny Hwang the year before. I also ran several races with Raymond Murphy. I am looking forward to running in more races with all of them and other athletes in the future. 

Is there anything you would like to bring to the public's attention about being an Achilles guide?

Don’t be shy. Do it! Any worries about joining such a close group will be gone really really fast. It is a tremendously rewarding experience that isn’t service at all. Sure, you are helping others live the fullest lives possible but you are joining into real deep and happy friendships as well.

Mention a little bit about your background.

I have lived in New York for about 15 years. I am an artist and work full-time with a sculptor. I love it. It is a lot of work though and we moved our studio last year which has made getting to Thursday workouts harder, which is really too bad. I miss being there every week but really love the work I do to. It involves creative thinking all day with lots of interesting travel and people too. Last year I ended a marathon training run with a project I did in Madison Square Park. It was a blast to share that other part of my life. 

Anything else you would like to add?

I am very proud to be a part of Achilles. It has taught me so much about the world and got me back into running in a big way. I do WAY more races then I ever did before. Achilles athletes are the most impassioned and enthusiastic athletes I have ever met.