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, 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. 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 different abilities — no disabilities — in life. " — Achilles Volunteer
How to Volunteer
To become an Achilles volunteer you must complete a volunteer application form. Download the paper form below, complete it, and fax, mail or scan and send as an email attachment.
Attn: Jenna Goretzki
42 West 38th Street
This form is a General Volunteer Form. It is NOT an application for the NYC Marathon.
VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH
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 Joe Sorbanelli!
How and when did you first hear about Achilles?
I ran the NYC marathon in 2015. This was my first race. During the marathon, I noticed the athletes and guides bright safety green shirts that read “Achilles”. Later I asked my friend, David Goldman, who has been a guide in the past, about Achilles. He explained the Achilles’ mission. I thought, “these must be the world’s most amazing people.” Now, I know that to be true.
When did you first become a volunteer/guide?
In 2016, I met “never quit” Barbara Brown. I ran a few races with her. She is incredible. I am happy she invited me to become an Achilles guide. As most of you know, Achilles is a family. You accepted me, made me feel welcome, and loved. In 2017, with a lot of help, Achilles New Jersey “Barbara Brown” Chapter” was revived. All are welcome to join us for a workout. Despite popular belief, no passport is needed to enter New Jersey.
What has that experience been like for you?
I have had so many wonderful experiences with the Achilles family, from running with Achilles NYC, Queens, Brooklyn and NJ, to road trips to Chicago to run with the “Running Demon” Raymond Murphy and Achilles Chicago. I am inspired anytime I’ve had the opportunity to run with Barbara, “Unstoppable” Marty Weinstein and the “Ultimate Running Machine” John Pierre.
Describe one or two special memories being an Achilles volunteer/guide.
In early 2018, I answered a post on Achilles Race Buddies and subsequently met the bravest person I know. She is known to most as “The Daredevil” Jenny Hwang. This year, Jenny allowed me to run with her countless days during her training. We ran many races, but mostly week after week, loop after loop in Central Park. We ran in the cold, heat, rain, and sometimes nice weather. She never complained and quietly put in her work and crushed her TCS New York City Marathon on November 4, 2018 with her guides Ruth Sorbanelli and Diego Pajares López. They let me tag along and it was an honor.
Please name one or two athletes you have guided.
Athlete Martin Weinstein you are my new brother. Athlete Matty Monaco you exemplify all that Achilles is and should be. You truly bring Hope and Possibilities to All. Athletes Brandon Ehrlich and Jennifer Romanoff you are amazing. Thank you also to guides Rajesh Karnani, Jaime Gryctko, Gladys Ravine, Wendee Corsino and Team Borchard. You jogged into Achilles NJ and my life and made them better.
Mention a little about your background.
I have been married to Achilles Guide Ruth Sorbanelli for over 20 years. Together we have three lovely children, Rebecca, Charles, and Madeline all Achilles guides as well. I am employed with the City of Englewood Fire Department as Fire Captain. I am a World Trade Center 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina Responder. I am also a runner and my mantra is “running makes everything better”. Two Achilles events that I love are the Hope & Possibility® run in Central Park and the Awards/Pasta Dinner before the NYC marathon. I love meeting and chatting with athletes and guides from around the world and listening to all the incredible stories.
Is there anything you would like to bring to the public's attention about being an Achilles Guide?
It will be the best decision you ever make.
Anything else you might like to add?
We are all created different, but equal. Go Achilles!.