Above:  2016 Marine Corps Marathon
Achilles Heel
November 2016
The past several weeks were the best of times for Achilles. We began with the Chicago Marathon. Our Freedom Team of handcycle athletes were stars! The team was led by Senator Tammy Duckworth. Tammy joined us as an amputee after losing both her legs in a helicopter crash while serving in Iraq. I believe training for and competing in marathons encouraged her to continue achieving - first as a congresswomen and now as Senator. What's next?

The following week, I participated with 31 Achilles Freedom Team members who competed in Detroit. Tom Davis and Freddie De Los Santos completed the event holding hands as they crossed the finish line in 1 hour 8 minutes - six minutes faster than the previous course record. Prior to Detroit, both competed in Rio. Bravo! Two weeks later, we had 44 athletes compete in the Marine Corp Marathon. Again, Achilles was the dominant handcycle group. Finally, on November 6th, close to 300 Achilles members and 400 guides competed in the New York City Marathon including 73 athletes and 76 volunteers from 21 countries. We were quite a sight in our neon-yellow t-shirts running, walking and handcycling alongside able-bodied runners and walkers. Many members broke Personal Records. Everyone broke barriers.

Prior to the New York City Marathon, I was inducted into the NYRR Hall of Fame along with Rod Dixon, Margaret Okayo and Steve Jones. It was an incredible honor. Go Achilles!


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 .

Achilles International had 289 athletes and 386 guides in the 2016 TCS NYC Marathon on November 6th. Members of the Freedom Team and Achilles athletes from at least 7  national chapters and 21 international chapters (including Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, Norway, France, Venezuela, and more) joined Achilles athletes from all over the US for the 40th running of the five boroughs.
Athletes, guides, and Achilles supporters celebrated the Friday Night Awards Dinner at a new venue this year! Everyone gathered at the Pennsylvania Hotel for pasta and our annual awards presentation. Thank you to General Motors for sponsoring the event. Kathleen Bateman presented a new award - the Erica Sanborn Award for Outstanding NYC Chapter Volunteer - to Soledad Lopez for her dedication and involvement with Achilles. Kyoko Rooney presented the James Rooney Award to Laura Buso for her reinvigoration of the Achilles Boston Chapter

The Steven R. Fastenberg Achilles Kid Award went to Dylan Chatkewitz  and we recognized his long-time guide Carolyn Wynne. The Ted & Betsy Rogers Award went to the wonderful Bonnie MarksThe Alberto Arroyo Award went to Cesar Jimenez  and the Marcia Monaco Award for Outstanding Achilles Athlete  went to Asim BaigThis year's Team Challenge Winner was Anthony Butler. Outstanding International Chapter was Mongolia and Outstanding International Athlete was Anne Goethe Holberg.

The General Motors Award for Outstanding Freedom Team Member was presented at the Detroit Marathon to Tom Davis

The AWD Family Reunion was a hive of activity thanks to the many volunteers who came in to support our finishers. The FBI Citizens Academy and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York worked with us to bring in a top-notch people. Balega International not only brought Musa from the Ethembeni School in South Africa to participate in the marathon, but also helped out in the Reunion area. Special neck gaiters, hand warmers, the TriggerPoint roll-out tent, the warm beverages and delicious soup from Trattoria D'ell Arte were complements of Balega.

GM product specialists were on hand to discuss the features of the Cadillac CT6 on display, highlighting the benefits of GM Military Discount. Many thanks to GM for its sponsorship of our Freedom Team program. 

Thank you everyone for helping to make this a great success!

On November 3rd Achilles hosted our 26th Annual Gala. Achilles was thrilled to honor Exelon, represented by Maggie FitzPatrick, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Philanthropy and Customer Engagement at Exelon, and Achilles board member. Exelon announced a plan to fund four handcranks to be used in communities that are important to us both - Philadelphia, Houston, DC, and Chicago. 

We were also delighted to honor Cameron Silver, Fashion Director of the H Halston and H by Halston brand; a global celebrity stylist, best-selling author, and fashion expert Cameron is also the founder of Decades, an acclaimed vintage retail store in Los Angeles. Deepest thanks to Bob D'Loren, Chairman and CEO of XCEL brands for introducing Cameron to Achilles. Bob and his lovely wife Jennifer donated a stunning Chanel bag from Decades, which was auctioned for $6,000! 

Thanks to Kevin Doyle of Sotheby's for doing a masterful job conducting the live auction and to Kirstin Cole for being a charming and gracious emcee. The theme of the gala was honoring outstanding guides and we were delighted to recognize Carl and Renee Landegger, Lili Siegelson and Bob Cremin for their many years of service to Achilles and Achilles athletes. 

Above, L-R:  Honoree Cameron Silver accepting his award with Dick Traum and Kirstin Cole; Maggie FitzPatrick and the Exlon Team celebrating the announcement of their handcycle endowment program
We don't call it "Marathon Month" for nothin!! Over the past four weekends, The Achilles Freedom Team sponsored over 70 members to compete, achieve and cross Finish Lines in the Chicago, Detroit, Marine Corps and New York City Marathons. Heartfelt thanks to General Motors and the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers, Bank of America's MSAG group, the Union League Club of NYC, the NYPD and FDNY for your generosity and continuous support of the athletes we serve. Thank you to all race staff, volunteers, and family members for helping to make these race weekends enjoyable for the team. And most of all, thank you to our incredible athletes! You are sensational and we are so honored to be a part of your journey on and off the racecourse. We can't wait to see you all as we continue on with the Marathon Tour beginning in January, 2017. Next stop: the Disney World Marathon Week presented by our Cigna family! 

If you're interested in joining us in the LA Marathon (March 19th 2017), email Freedom Team Director, Janet Patton by January 15th!

We are thrilled and proud to share in the joy and celebration of Achilles Sydney, Australia, on their 20th Anniversary. A big thanks to Ellis Janks who founded the chapter and has been president ever since, guiding members and volunteers to achieve huge success over the past 20 years. Ellis also helped in the expansion to other areas of the continent including Canberra and Melbourne

The success of Achilles Australia would not be possible without the help, dedication and support of so many great members including
Nick Gleeson, a blind athlete who came to the Achilles Sydney chapter's first training session and has remained a loyal and committed member ever since;  Charlie McConnell , another blind athlete, joined Achilles Sydney  a year later  and has also remained a loyal and committed member ever since. We were delighted to catch up with Achilles Australia athletes Stephen Green and his guide Enruqie Suana who ran the Boston Marathon with us this year. Ben Phillips and his guide Markus Shar ran NYC Marathon with us in 2013. We hope to see more of you joining us in future marathons. 

Go Achilles Australia! We are so proud to have you all part of our family -- thanks to all Achilles Australia members and volunteers.

Every two years, the Munich City Council gives thanks to associations for exemplary commitment. Within the scope of this, the Mayor of Munich has honored well-deserving club representatives for their long-term or outstanding commitment. On October 21st, Alexander Hentzschel, President Achilles Gemany, received a prestigious award for leading Achilles Germany and organizing their annual Hope & Possibility race in Munich five years in row. Congratulations, Alex! Go Achilles Germany!

Achilles Hungary is proud to announce that it is now established as a non-profit organization and an official chapter of Achilles International headquartered in Budapest. Thanks to the efforts of the chapter's new president, Ms. Judit Gombas, chapter members recently completed their first race in the Budapest Marathon on October 9th, 2016. Runners represented neighboring Slovakia as well as Spain and the UK.

On-going chapter activities include weekly runs in conjunction with a local non-profit for the visually impaired. An Achilles Kids program is also in the works as well as inviting people with disabilities from various other Hungarian organizations to become members. 

"It is particularly encouraging to have been so well received by our runners from neighboring countries. All of our members are new to Achilles, and while most are not local, we hope that through our chapter they will convey the positive message and influence of Achilles to their own communities." - Istvan Kalnoky, Achilles Hungary Board Member. 

We were delighted to welcome a member of Achilles Hungary who participated in the NYC marathon on November 6th. 

Congratulations, Achilles Hungary!

Achilles Kids enjoyed the fall favorite, the Terry Fox 5K. Then, Dash to the Finish 5K the Saturday before the NYC marathon. Thanks, as always, to our incredible volunteers for making the races so special for our Achilles Kids! 

Special shout out to Sheridan Basso who is working so hard to recover from an injury. Achilles Kids is super proud of your hard work. Keep it up!

Another Great Success!
Thanks to the SOULful Achilles Board member Mary Koutrakos for organizing the 3rd Annual SoulCycle Fundraiser to benefit Achilles Kids

We are so grateful to Mary, the SoulCycle team, instructor Sean Linehan, and our host committee including Jenna Fidellow, Sarah Leingang, Colleen Mathis, Rebecca Alexander, and Caroline Kazcor for their support and assistance. We especially loved welcoming so many Achilles athletes and Achilles Kids parents to the ride! We can't wait for next year's ride!

Reshma Patel

Reshma Patel became a volunteer in 2008 and has been a great source of inspiration ever since, singing songs of encouragement to athletes when the going gets tough. Thank you, Reshma, for everything you do!

".....Watching the transition of an athlete. Helping and motivating an athlete learn to run their first mile, to their first six-mile loop in the park and to their first half-marathon. Then to see their progress ... to be part of the triathlon team. Being part of Achilles is something bigger than myself and I love it!" - Reshma
To read more about Reshma, please click here .

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


On the gorgeous fall morning of October 8th, twenty-five Achilles athletes with disabilities from the Connecticut, New York City and Boston Chapters crossed the finish line at the 2016 Eversource Hartford Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K. Supported by 27 guides, 30 Achilles CT course monitors, and 24 Achilles tent/finish-line volunteers made for an Achilles Team of just over 100!! Congratulations to all of the athletes and THANK YOU to the dedicated volunteers for their support!

Congratulations to Amy Saffell and her guides, Becky Richardson from Achilles Nashville and 1LT Steven Foster (Army) from Fort Carson Warrior Transition Battalion, on the completion of the Denver Half Marathon on Sunday October 17th. Amy has now completed eight half-marathons and is continuing to represent Achilles Nashville with her amazing spirit!

The Philadelphia Marathon Weekend starts November 18th. This year the Achilles Philly chapter will be fielding a team of nine athletes and nineteen guides along with five out-of-town Achilles members. The chapter has also begun work on a new orientation video for new guides.

November 18 - 11/20 : The Philadelphia Marathon Weekend

Above: Achilles Connecticut at the Hartford Marathon; Amy Safell, Achilles Nashville at the Denver Half Marathon Finish Line



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