Above: A flash from the past! 9 time NYC Marathon Women's Champion Grete Weitz guiding Achilles Norway Founder Ketil Moe at the start of the 1998 NYC Marathon.


Achilles Heel
April 2017
During the past month, I have been reviewing old media tapes of Achilles. My first thoughts were: "Look how young I was; look how thin I was and what happened to my hair?" One of the very interesting observations is how we generated medical research.

The first concerns Ketil Moe, a marathoner who had Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Ketil's life expectancy as a pre-teen was 16 years. He more than doubled that. Other Achilles members with CF had similar successes. Ketil had the strength to undergo the difficult morning workouts which helped keep his lungs clear - a vital part of his treatment. Otherwise, there is a high probability of infection. Ketil's success generated a research study by Dr. Johan Stangelle, in Norway. The results, based on many runners with this disability, indicated that if you run, it will increase your life expectancy. Ketil not only ran several New York City Marathons and was president of our Norwegian chapter, he also initiated a race in southern Norway, supported by Grete Waitz and Olympic Gold medal winner Johan Koss, which focused on mainstreaming people with disabilities.

A second research was generated by Achilles Board member Trisha Meili after a life-changing attack helped pave the way for research on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Trisha's story goes back to 1989. While running in Central Park at night, she was accosted, beaten and left for dead. Trisha became known as, "The Central Park Jogger". During her recovery at Gaylord Hospital, she joined an Achilles chapter and began to run. Having a profound recovery from a TBI, she encouraged Dr. Wayne Gordon, at Mount Sinai, to study the effect of running and exercise on people with TBI. This research helped change the lives of other people with TBI. It was confirmed that running does help. Trisha is also a marathoner who has finished in the top half of all runners. Trisha is one of the study's co-authors.

Another testament to this is reflected in two groups of runners with TBI - Achilles Freedom Team of wounded, ill and injured veterans as well as the RUSK Institute running program headed by Dr. Bonnie Marks. We have over 100 athletes from these groups who have reached marathon-level running and have seen profound improvement.

A third concerns our Achilles Kids and the effects of running for children on the Autism Spectrum. Achilles Kids is a program in which children with disabilities run during the school year with their adaptive physical education teachers. Those who complete a total of at least 26.2 miles during the school year (a "virtual marathon") win a pair of running shoes. With the help of Cigna and the New York Medical College, we conducted a study in which ninety-four members on the autism spectrum began to run. They improved physically, socially and cognitively. The results, using well-known tests, were statistically significant. My observations strongly support the results. A child on the spectrum is comparable in running with his or her peers. A child on the spectrum who is in shape, is faster. The children adore the sport. Many, perhaps most, consider running their favorite activity.

We have helped improve people's lives through medical research and continue to explore other areas where our sport helps add value.


Don't forget, if you shop at Amazon please shop at https://smile.amazon.com. When you shop here, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. Be sure to selection Achilles! This can generate lot of money if we can make it a simple habit for 10,000 people on our contacts + thousands of others in our personal social media contacts. 


Make a donation from your smart phone: Text GOACHILLES to 243725


In conjunction with our premium apparel partner Champion System, a worldwide leader in custom technical apparel, new pieces and Achilles classics are now available for purchase here .

Are you ready to run the 2017 NYC Marathon with Achilles?? Achilles has a Guaranteed Entry slot for you to run in the most famous marathon on earth -- the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon

For more information on how to become a Charity Entrant and raise funds for Achilles while running this incredible race, please click here.

Let's do this. Together


Once again, our Achilles athletes (30 to be exact) were welcomed with open arms during the Skechers Performance LA Marathon weekend! It is worth noting that this marathon has always shown a strong vision of inclusion. All athletes with disabilities, be it military or civilian, runners with guides, handcycles, racing-chairs, etc., are welcome and encouraged to persevere through those 26.2 miles and cross that finish line safely. Each athlete is celebrated and it makes the Athletes with Disabilities (AWD) family want to come back to LA year after year! Well done! We absolutely love the race and the energy is superb for the Achilles athletes. Along with staying at the new and fabulous LA Hotel Downtown for the weekend, we were hosted and supported by the AMAZING Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) at their Training Center. The LAFD, active duty and retired, welcomed athletes and their families to tune-up handcycles and feast on a delicious homemade Mexican meal in preparation for the big race! Endless thanks to Mark Carcamo, Adam Walker and Craig Paulson for your dedication and warmth toward the team over the past 10 years. Your support has been invaluable and we hope you will always feel the love and know your special place in the Achilles Family! Also a giant thank you to our dear friends and sponsors with the GM Military Discount for sponsoring the Freedom Team registration and hotels. Wonderful progress is being made because of all that you give!

Achilles Kids braved the blistering cold on March 5th to participate in the NYRR Salsa Blues and Shamrock 5k race. Bundling up and buckling down, Diego, Billy, Danny, Miguel, and Miles were fearless in the face of blustery winds. Special thanks to our amazing volunteers for helping our kids reach their goals, no matter the obstacles Mother Nature threw in their way! 
Two athletes from the Cigna Achilles customer referral program competed in the 18th annual St. Patrick's Day 5k race in Toronto. Sponsored by Cigna and with all proceeds benefitting the Achilles Toronto chapter, it was a frigid but exciting weekend for Kari Peddle and Tammy Beliski and their guests. Cigna's own Beth Chiappetta gave welcoming remarks that kick-started the race. Achilles Toronto chapter head and race director Brian McLean did a fantastic job and everyone more than earned their post-race chili! 

Spring is sprangin' in Boston! Here is an update from Achilles Boston. The chapter spent the winter consulting with the Vermont 100 Endurance Race (VT100) on their first AWD awards division. Together with Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports and other supporters, Achilles Boston crafted a framework which will make the 2017 VT100 the first trail ultra-race ever to formally recognize runners who are visually impaired or mobility impaired. Achilles Boston athlete and resident ultra-runner, Kyle Robidoux, will be competing in the visually impaired category. From Boston to Ulaanbaatar, the global Achilles family is rooting for you, Kyle! Boston was recently visited by Jeff Flory, a guide from the Achilles Pikes Peak chapter. Inspired by his mountain ultra-running stories and our friend Kyle running the VT100, the Boston chapter is going to try trail running. On Saturday May 13, the weekly Boston chapter workout will go off-road to the Middlesex Fells Reservation, six miles north of downtown Boston, for a trail running orientation geared towards runners who are blind or visually impaired. This is also for volunteers who want to learn how to guide on trails. Achilles Boston has partnered up with the Trail Animals Running Club to encourage everyone to try trail running. Members of other chapters are welcome to join them. Please RSVP in advance via Facebook or by emailing Laura at AchillesBoston@gmail.com .

Happy Birthday Achilles Brooklyn! We are so thrilled to celebrate Achilles Brooklyn's second anniversary on April 14th! We celebrate the love of Achilles and the continued mission to bring hope, inspiration, and the joy of achievement to all! Go Achilles Brooklyn for many years to come!

Unfortunately, due to disastrous flooding in Peru, the Peru Hope & Possibility® Race scheduled for Sunday March 19th was cancelled the night before the race. The roads and bridges were washed out as well as roads needed for emergency supplies. However, all was not lost. Director of Achilles International Chapters, Gerle Shagdar, and Achilles ambassador/volunteer, Robert Russo, who were in Peru for the race, met with race sponsors, running clubs, police and municipal government officials, all of whom confirmed their commitment to return at a rescheduled date. Achilles was impressed with race sponsor AquaItalia (an Italian company) as well as "I am your eyes" (an organization for the blind), the local government social service office for people with disabilities as well as Achilles Peru Miguel Rodriquez and many volunteers. Right now, Lima has no running water. Trucks are supplying it to different city districts. The country is embracing a long recovery period. We wish them the best. 

Hannah Feder

We are delighted to honor Hannah Feder  as April Volunteer of the Month. Hannah became a volunteer in 2014 through New York Cares. She has been very active ever since. Thank you so much, Hannah, for everything you do for Achilles.

"One of my favorite things about running with Achilles is the support from the broader running community. I can't think of a single workout where we didn't get cheered on from other runners shouting, "Go Achilles!" It's like having a personal cheering team on every run." - Hannah Feder

To read more about Hanna, please click here .

To nominate someone as Volunteer of the Month, please email Fiona.


In town for the Boston Marathon? 
Achilles Boston wants to give you a running tour of the city! Tours are held at 9:30 A.M and 10:30 A.M. on Saturday and Sunday, April 15
th   and 16 th . Everyone will  meet at the  Boston Marathon Adidas RunBase  located at 855 Boylston Street, two blocks away from the iconic finish line of the Boston Marathon. Join us for an easy 45 minute run around one of the oldest cities in the U.S. All abilities welcome. No one gets left behind. Tours will be held rain or shine.   

RSVP on the 
RunBase facebook page  or via email to  AchillesBoston@gmail.com

On March 26th, thirty-four AWD Achilles Brazil members participated in Track & Field Center Norte, 5k and 10k races, in São Paulo City. Congratulations everyone!

Achilles Italy member Mr. Haki Doku recently added two more Guinness World Records to his name for the following achievements: The Greatest Distance in a Manual Wheelchair in 12 hours - 175.19 miles. Plus, The Most Stairs Descended in a Wheelchair in one hour - 2,176! Amazing! Well done, Mr. Haki!

Thirty-nine Philly Achilles Team members travelled to Tampa for the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic on February 25th. There were team dinners on Friday and Saturday which generated a new motto: "We eat. We run. We drink. We repeat." Photo (below) is the team heading out for the 15k. There was a second team that tackled the 5k (with some people doubling up). Outstanding performances were covered on the local new as well as the Tampa Bay Times.

April 16th-17th:
Running Tour of Boston City with Achilles Boston. 
RSVP via email @ AchillesBoston@gmail.com or via Facebook.

April 17th : Boston Marathon 

May:  Paratriathlon Camp - weekend dates to be determined

June 25th:  Achilles 15th Hope & Possibility® 4-Miler in Central Park, NYC 

July 16th :- NYC Tri - NYC 

July 22nd : Long Training #1 in Central Park (12 miles) 

August 13th : Long Training #2 in Central Park (12 miles)



Above: Philly Achilles Team in Tampa, Achilles Brazil on the course and en masse at the Track & Field Center Norte 5k & 10k, plus Mr. Haki Doku with his two Guinness World Record Awards! Well done everyone!


Photo credits: many of our photos are courtesy of the great, talented, always helpful and very dedicated, Larry Sillen. Thank you, Larry!