Above: 2018 Boston Marathon Finish - photo courtesy of Joseph Kelley

Achilles Heel
May - June 2018

A Day In Boston

Sixty-one Achilles athletes, including myself and thirty-eight Freedom Team members, qualified for and ran Boston. What a bad hair day but a learning experience. Ten days before Boston, I began watching the weather forecast. Fifty percent chance of rain moved to sixty and seventy percent. Even worse, the days before and after had high probabilities. Lo and behold, three days before, it reached an improbable 100% along with high wind, hail and temperature in the low thirties.
It's 4:30 Monday morning. Put on five layers of clothing, plus gloves and goggles.
We are at the start. To the left, a lawn is covered with snow, the wind is howling and, on a regular basis, there are sheets of rain. This reminds me of a scene from "Singing in the Rain"!
We are off; the downhill is slippery; the rain coming from the tires covers the googles and they are steaming up. See the handcycles in front as blurry images. Take the goggles off, wipe them, try again. Next several miles, I switch from the highest of three gears to the middle. Do not bother to gain momentum going down the small hills in order to get up the next. Cheering whenever I see a mile marker. Stop and take a break for water. Never got into the groove. Feel something is wrong. Check the brakes again; perhaps they're partly on? Nope. Check my black garbage bag, a sixth layer. Maybe it's caught in a wheel? Nope. Check to see if the brakes might be too close to the wheel? No. Just do not have it. Stop for water even though I am not thirsty. Do not ever remember going to a full stop for a beverage. It's the seventeen-mile hill. Never stopped half way up before. It's the twenty-one-mile "Heartbreak Hill". My arms are cramping. My goodness, realized that I have dehydrated. Have not done this in forty-two years. Wasn't thirsty, but with all the clothing, was sweating. Surprise, at mile 23, at least a thousand spectators are shouting their heads off. They are being led by Achilles Boston! It really helps. Bravo! At last, I finished. Off to a tent and greeted by Joe (Traum) and Janet (Patton). With the experience gained the past two hours, it's "hands up". They peel the six layers of clothing off and place two Space Blankets on me. For the first time ever, I am shivering. Wow, those blankets felt good. Into a bus, back to the hotel and into the bathtub. My seventy-second marathon is complete. 
Yes, there was an interesting surprise. First, concerning the team, not one person complained. It was horrible, but we were all smiles. We achieved! We beat the monster. We as a group became closer. It reminded me of these very vigorous training activities soldiers do. Not fun, but in the end, there was accomplishment. If one can summarize in one word, it would be SPIRIT. We shared and succeeded at an activity few have ever considered. We Won! We became a fraternity. We became a more cohesive group. We had a glorious time. I learned that beating adversity with a group is one of the greatest motivational activities anywhere. Need to lube my handcycle. Looking forward to next year. 


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 .


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 select Achilles! This can generate a 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. Thank you!

New Format Plans for Newsletter

Please keep an eye out for our new, updated format over the summer!


Join our celebrity ambassador, Meghan McCain, co-host of The View, and other well-known VIPs, on June 24th at 8:45am in Central Park for our 16th Annual Hope & Possibility® 4-Miler. This inspiring event brings together athletes with disabilities and able-bodied athletes in a celebration of running, walking, and wheeling. Cash prizes, t-shirts, finisher medals, raffles, live music, and more. 

There will also be a Free Achilles Kids Dash for children ages 2-9 at 10:30am.

IMPORTANT NOTE: All Achilles athletes and guides must register on the NYRR website by logging into their MYNYRR account. If you do not have a MYNYRR account, it's easy to create one by visiting the nyrr.org website and clicking on the MY NYRR link on the top right-hand side of the page. The race will sell out soon, so be sure to register! Once the race is sold out, we are not able to register any additional athletes or guides.  Don't wait to sign up. Do it today! This race sells out FAST!!! Last year, we sold out by the end of May. And remember, it's an easy 9 + 1 qualifier for the NYC Marathon.

We are delighted to announce that U-Haul will once again sponsor Achilles Hope & Possibility ® event in New York City. " Providing some small measure of assistance to our disabled veterans and their families who are participating in this uplifting event is an honor for our Company and its 28,000-plus Team Members across the U.S. and Canada." - Sebastien Reyes, Director of External Communications, U-Haul International. Co-founded by a WWII Navy veteran in 1945, U-Haul is a proud supporter of numerous groups and causes that provide basic needs for our veterans.

POST-RACE BRUNCH - We are delighted to say, we will once again have our post-race brunch at Dorrian's Red Hand on the Upper East Side. Watch this space for more details!


The 122
nd Boston Marathon weekend was particularly epic April 14

Achilles International hosted 61 athletes for the weekend including our  New York, Connecticut, Nashville, Florida, Brazil, France  and  Boston chapter athletes  as well as 38 members of our  Freedom Team.  We are grateful for the tremendous support from our partners at the  Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Foundation Dan Magoon  and  Kelly Roche  -  we cannot thank you enough and look forward to many more Boston weekends together!  Also, heartfelt thanks to the  GM Military Discount  which sponsors the Freedom Team in ma rathons t hroughout the year;  Veteran's Airlift Command  - the owners and pilots - who give of their resources and time to fly team members; the  Boston Police Department and MBTA  who were present throughout the weekend to roll out the red carpet everywhere we went.  Dan Lyons  and the  Boston Red Sox  welcome and honor our team each year on the sacred field at Fenway. We also deeply appreciate the generosity of  Yankee Bus Company , which enables us to travel to Boston as a team in accessible comfort and style. A big shout-out to mega-talented  Joseph Kelley  for generously giving his time and capturing so many priceless moments throughout the weekend! Because of you we can all better remember the good times. And finally, we thank and adore all the local volunteers whom we could not function without during race weekend!
This was a powerful year for all who persevered down the Boston streets on Patriot's Day. The headwinds were severe, the rain was nonstop, and the temperature was frigid. Most athletes and guides said it was the most challenging marathon they have ever participated in due to the weather conditions. However, that makes that Boston finishers medal that much more precious. Boston 2018 will surely become legendary and those who were there will forever be bonded by the true grit it took to participate in that race. Our humble Freedom Team Elite member, Tom Davis, won first place in the Handcycle Division for the 4th year! And newcomer to Achilles, Alicia Danatook first place in the Female Handcycle Division. Absolutely incredible! (To view any media attention - we had amazing coverage - please visit the News section  of our website).
We cannot wait to return to Boston and appreciate all the inspiration and encouragement that everyone provides the athletes and families we serve!


We are so very proud of our Achilles Kids and thrilled our program continues to grow - we had an astounding 43 Achilles Kids at our April 14th workout! Amazing! But we couldn't do it without all our wonderful volunteers and NY Cares volunteer team leaders who make the workouts fun and exciting for all the kids by providing plenty of support and encouragement! To see the joy and pride of our kids as they charge to the finish line - bolstered by the enthusiastic cheers of our fantastic leaders Angie BullaroCarolyn Wynne and Theresa Molloy - is always a thrill! There is simply no better way to spend a Saturday morning!

Our workouts at the JCC and in Central Park are not only fun and exciting, but they help create a positive social atmosphere and prepare our kids to participate in races. 

The first race of 2018 was held on Saturday, March 10th. Twenty-three Achilles Kids left the island of Manhattan for the St. Paddy's Day 5K on Roosevelt Island. It was a chilly, but picture-perfect morning. As they made their way to the finish line, our kids enjoyed a spectacular view of Manhattan. Great course, great race, great fun!


Starting on Monday April 23rd, for five consecutive weeks, our amazing
Karen Lewis, Director of Achilles Kids, is running one marathon per week (five marathons in total) for Achilles Kids. Every penny helps and goes towards supporting the Achilles Kids program. For more information and to support Achilles Kids, please click here


Tri Achilles spent the last weekend of April at an intense but rewarding clinic at the Crystal Springs Resort in New Jersey. This annual event, generously organized by team member Joe Bellantoni and his wife Dnyce, affords Achilles athletes, guides and coaches the opportunity to sharpen their skills in a beautiful, low-pressure environment. The team swam, biked and ran, practiced transitioning between sports, and got tips on nutrition and other race strategies while eating a bit too well. They inspired each other, as the team this year includes triathletes ranging from beginners to Paralympians. This tri team is definitely ready to race! A special thank you to the Foreseeable Future Foundation for sponsoring this amazing camp.


On March 18th, more than 40 Achilles athletes conquered the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon. The all new course took runners from Grand Army Plaza over the Manhattan Bridge, through Times Square and onto the finish line in Central Park. Despite the low temps and high winds, the new course earned high marks with the Achilles crew. "Hitting the FDR and 42nd Street was my favorite part!" exclaimed Achilles runner Neill Biddy after finishing his first-ever Half Marathon. "Hearing the Achilles crew cheer as I entered the park was incredible. When I crossed the finish line, I felt amazing and couldn't wait to do it again." After the race, the fun continued at Gabriela's Restaurant and Tequila Bar on the Upper West Side where more than 65 runners and guides gathered to show off their flashy new medals and replenish with a well-earned meal! 

Kathleen Adinolfi

Congratulations to the amazing  Kathleen Adinolfi , Volunteer of the Month. Kathleen has become a great friend and guide to several of our members in the short time that she has been with Achilles. Thank you, Kathleen, for everything you do for so many.
"Being a guide for Achilles means being a friend, helping with transportation, fixing wheelchairs, spending time recruiting new members or maybe even walking a guide dog while his or her visually impaired athlete does a training run. And it doesn't stop there. Achilles athletes are out there running races and fundraising to support and give back to the organization that is there for them. What an amazing group of people!" - Kathleen Adinolfi

To read more about  Kathleen, please  click here.

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

After a long and endless winter, the Achilles Connecticut Chapter kicked off its 2018 race season at the Bradley Road Race in March, followed by the Cheshire Half Marathon & 5K and the Mystic Half & 10K in April & May. Achilles NYC athlete Patrick Miller has been a frequent racer in Connecticut this spring, competing in the Boston Build Up Series, a half marathon in Moodus, CT, and the Danbury Half Marathon. Patrick will be joining Team Achilles CT for upcoming races this summer and fall as well. We welcome any Chapter athletes to Connecticut...especially for our 3rd Annual Achilles Connecticut Hope & Possibility® 5K/10K/Fitness Walk/Kids Run presented by Cigna. The date is July 22nd in Hartford. Click here for more information and to register. 

Discounted hotel rooms are available at the Hartford/Windsor Marriott, and a unique registration code for Achilles members is available for discounted registration. Contact president@achillesct.org for the code. We hope you can join us in July!

Congratulations to Achilles CT athletes Krys Zybowski (handcycle), Manny Jimenez (Freedom Team) and David Alejandro (Visually Impaired, with CT guides Jon Romeo and Dave Hayes) who finished the Boston Marathon on April 16th. Krys took 3rd place in the handcycle division despite one of the toughest weather days on the course in 122 years of marathon history! Achilles athletes proved they are tougher than "wicked" wind and driving rain! We are hoping for sunnier days for our June and July events, which can be found on our website www.achillesct.org.

It is with heavy hearts that we share the news that one of Achilles CT's dedicated volunteers, Katy Guidone of Hebron, passed away in early March following a courageous battle with cancer. Katy, an avid runner, competed in 35 marathons and guided many Achilles Connecticut athletes in their races of all distances. She also coordinated race day volunteers with the Hartford Marathon Foundation for Achilles CT's Hope & Possibility® road race. Her last race with Achilles was in Glastonbury at Riverfront Park in November 2017. A community run in her honor was held at Riverfront Park on April 21st. Please click here to read about the inspirational life of Katy Guidone. 

Above: Post-race photo (l-r guide Mary O'Connell, athlete Tara Frey and guide Katy Guidone).

This has been a busy few months with spring training for Boston and for the Nashville St. Jude Rock 'n' Roll on Saturday, April 28th. The Nashville Chapter had 16 athletes and 28 guides participating in either the 5k, half or full marathon. Achilles Nashville was a beneficiary, along with ABLE Youth for the Race Judicata on April 7th. The race was sponsored by the Nashville Bar Association, Young Lawyer's Division. Both the 5k and the 10k were on a Greenway in the beautiful Edwin Warner Park. Even though the day was bitterly cold, participation was great with 20 athletes and 40 guides! Speaking of cold weather races, Boston was a memorable race for many reasons. Pretty sure everyone has heard the conditions by now! Our Achilles athletes, Nashville and beyond, had such a strong showing. Achilles Nashville was well represented with athletes Stephanie Zundel (guided by Tess Levison and Amy Harris) and Tony Grossi (guided by Olaf Wasternack). Nashville guide, Ed Sieffert, partnered with another Achilles chapter athlete, Tim Hornick. Other guides from Nashville who participated in the Boston Marathon on their own included Melanie Yappen and Allie Tearney. Congrats to them all!

Two days after Boston, Achilles Nashville celebrated both the return of their Boston Marathon participants and their 6-year birthday! They had a wonderful celebration which included founders, Sarah Hart and Melanie Yappen. Carrie Redmon, past Executive Director, celebrated the occasion with them as did many of their board members. Cakes by Skye provided them with two giant sheet cakes and chapter friends at Local Taco provided chips and salsa. It is hard to believe the chapter is six! They have come so far and continue to grow in such positive ways thanks to all the great supporters, athletes, and volunteers!

Finally, Achilles Nashville continues to feel the loss of Peter Pressman. Peter was a leader in the Nashville running world and one of the chapter's most active participants and supporters. The Nashville Community came together on April 8th to do a run in Peter's honor and memory. Achilles athlete, J.P. Williams, and his two guides, Sarah Hart and Amy Harris participated in the community run. 

Above: Achilles Nashville


May 19th: The Popular Brooklyn Half

June 24th : Achilles NYC 16th Annual Hope & Possibility® 4-Miler in Central Park. Be sure to register EARLY!!! This sells out fast and is a NYC Marathon qualifier.


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