Above:  One of 50 Achilles Philly members participating in the Broad Street Run. Jean Altomari took 2nd Place Female Pushrim Division.

Achilles Heel
June 2017
This month we are trying something different! WALK AWHILE IN MY SHOES or in my case, as an amputee, WALK AWHILE IN MY SHOE (LOL). It is a social media challenge and campaign intended to build awareness of, and compassion for, people with disabilities.
Here is how it works: An Achilles athlete (with a disability) challenges a minimum of three people to walk/run/roll/hop/crutch/etc. a while. The challenge is made on Facebook and the nominees tagged.
If the challenge is accepted, that nominee posts an image or video of the challenge being met, then challenges and tags three more people to participate on Facebook. Those nominees post images of themselves meeting the challenge, challenging others on Facebook and on and on.
We are hopeful the challenge lasts all month, through the Hope & Possibility® race in NYC on June 25th and up to Disability Pride NYC on July 9th.
Lest we forget, there is a fundraising component... nominated participants have a limited time to comply or forfeit by way of a charitable donation to Achilles International! Actually, we hope you have so much fun getting out and completing the challenge that you are compelled to make a donation too! We want everyone to be able to participate! If you are an Achilles athlete with a disability you can initiate a challenge without accepting one. The rest of you able-bodied folks have to choose and complete a challenge first, then you can challenge others. You can opt to run blindfolded with a guide or you can handcycle or run wearing two very different shoes (simulates a prosthetic). Whatever you do, make sure you have friends to help you think through any safety issues, to photograph and post, and the most important thing: Have fun!
Go to http://www.facebook.com/awhileinmyshoes  for examples of simulations and to witness me kicking off the challenge (so to speak).

Information about Disability Pride NYC can be found here.

Thank you! Go for it! 


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 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. 


Achilles Founding Board Chair Trisha Meili will be at the JCC Manhattan to tell her incredible story on Saturday, June 24th -- the eve of the 15th Annual Hope & Possibility® race named in her honor. Click here for Details & Tickets.
"It has been most gratifying to see the increase in participants over the years," says Trisha. "It went from a few hundred in 2003 to sell-out crowds in the thousands. It's an increase in both the challenged athletes and able-bodied participants. It's a mutually inspirational event!" 


Our Hope & Possibility® race is now SOLD OUT!! Amazing! Don't miss out on our post-race brunch...we only have a few tickets left. So, be sure to sign up NOW for our 3rd Annual Hope & Possibility Brunch @ Dorrian's Red Hand. Details are right here!

Come join us for a celebration after the race. Please note, there will be no tickets sold at the door.


The Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon took place on Saturday, May 20th 2017 and despite some steady rain and drizzle throughout the day, the Achilles spirit was on display for all 13.1 miles. In total, 17 Achilles members left it all out on the course on a truly memorable day. Leading the charge were handcyclists Romel Palis and William Alvarez. They were greeted to a roaring cheer from the Wave 1 runners at the sound of the horn as they sped around Prospect Park and onto the finish at the world famous Coney Island boardwalk. 
"The race was so much fun! We were faster than we thought," exclaimed Achilles member Sarah Heller upon finishing. Along with her guide, Suzanne Lorio, Sarah was full of enthusiasm as the duo waved to cheering spectators as they passed the iconic Cyclone roller coaster with 400 meters to go. 
"What a day... the cheerful race volunteers, the Brooklyn cheering crowd along the way, capped by a fun and exciting finish at Coney Island! Can't get any better than that!" - Romel Palis
Some of the loudest applause of the day came when Michael Ring and his guides Nicoletta Nerangis and Mary Hedge hit the home stretch as the spectators and NYRR staff (led by NYRR's President, Events and TCS New York City Marathon Race Director, Peter Ciaccia) gave Michael and his team a huge shout out on their way to an awesome finish. Congrats to all Achilles athletes on your incredible accomplishment! 

Above: Scenes from the Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon (photo in upper right, courtesy of benkophotography.com; other photos, courtesy of Larry Sillen, Achilles staff photographer).

Julie Bennett 
The Achilles Triathlon team would like to send our gratitude to Achilles volunteer Julie Bennett and Citi Private Bank. Together with a team of colleagues from Citi, Julie just tackled an intense bike ride from Boston to New York, for which the team raised an extremely generous donation for our team. The Citi team consisted of 20 riders from across the country and rode three days as part of their charity ride. An outstanding guide and triathlete, Julie has guided a few of our team members in races such as the New York City Triathlon, MightyMan in Montauk and Achilles Athlete Eliza Cooper's first Half Ironman in Maine. In training for the Half Iron, Eliza spoke of Julie's incredible generosity, ambition, sense of humor, and friendship. Citi's donation will help fund team expenses such as race entry fees, travel to races, and maintenance for our fleet of tandem bikes. Thanks for helping us continue to race strong, Citi & Julie. #GoAchilles!


Achilles Mongolia was honored with an award to participate in the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Sports Diplomacy-Sports United Division's Sports Visitor Program. Sports United ECA's Division (devoted to sports diplomacy) taps into sports ability to increase dialogue and cultural understanding between people around the world. Its Sports Visitors program allows young non-elite athletes and coaches chosen by U.S. embassies overseas to visit the United States for a fast-paced two-week exchange program. The program is focused on track and field. Ten young mixed-abilities (five with disabilities and five able-bodied)  athletes from Achilles Mongolia, board member Ochbayar Unurjargal, and a director of Achilles Kids, Mongolia Narantsatsralt Tulgabaatar, will be in the US from May 29th to June 4th at George Mason University and from June 4th to June 9th in New York City. The team will meet Dick Traum, Achilles staff, athletes and volunteers. We will have training runs in Central Park, visit RUSK to hear Bonnie Marks' presentation and sing at the Daniel's Music Foundation. We are very proud of you and welcome you, Achilles Mongolia!


On May 7th 2017, nearly 50 Achilles Philly athletes and volunteers joined 37,000 other competitors in America's largest ten-mile race, Philadelphia's Blue Cross Broad Street Run. Eleven Achilles athletes and 36 volunteers completed the course, with Angel Otero and Deborah Groeber finishing their longest race yet! Not only were Achilles Philly athlete Jean Altomari and Team Matt McAvoy featured prominently in the event's race information guide, but second-place pushrim female finisher Jean and fellow athlete Chris Lynch were interviewed at the finish by NBC10 with Chris crediting his Achilles guides for "setting a masterful pace" on his way to a PR.

On May 22nd, ninety athletes and guides donned party hats for the festivities at The Colorado Running Company as Achilles Pikes Peak celebrated its 3rd Birthday Bash. With the support of many local community partners like PikesPeakSports.us, LYME, AngleTech, Mad Moose Events, UpRise Yoga, USABA, and WE Fit Wellness, Achilles Pikes Peak is looking forward to another year of cultivating relationships and improving the lives of many in and around Colorado Springs.

Steve Chapman

Steve Chapman is our Volunteer of the Month. Steve has a very special task taking care of Achilles Members' guide dogs! While they do the running, Steve tends to their guide dogs - walking them and making sure they are well cared for! Thank you so much, Steve, for everything you do for us!

To read more about Steve, please click here .

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

A Special Tribute

We lost a dear friend and Achilles member, Carmelo Puccia, on May 8th 2017 after battling cancer for two years. His passing brought to mind the impact our members have on our lives and the depth of relationships formed being part of Achilles.
When Carmelo joined Achilles he quickly became a huge part of everyone's lives. He was blind from an early age and diabetic. But nothing stopped this diminutive-sized man. He was a great athlete, finishing several half-marathons as well as many other races. He had a way of ingratiating himself to others... always smiling and filled with laughter, sharing a few jokes during a workout or a race; pushing up Cat Hill in Central Park,  Carmelo was the one to point out to newbie guides the large statue of a mountain lion perched, seeming ready-to-pounce, near the top of one of the steepest hills in the park. He knew every inch of the park including where signs are posted indicating mileage. He was always guided by a bevy of female guides... "no men need apply" was more-or-less Carmelo's motto... At the workouts, Carmelo was usually accompanied by his faithful, but overweight, black Lab mix,
Arrow, who had his own special needs... "obedience issues!" This just made Arrow even more lovable. (Arrow retired to a farm a year before Carmel's passing.) In addition to being a terrific athlete, a father and grandfather, Carmelo was also an incredible electrician and carpenter, building a shed in the back of his home in Brooklyn and wiring his entire house. He could fix a computer too. Carmelo loved music and was a wonderful pianist. He constantly reminded us, that nothing is impossible. We will all miss you, Carmelo, and hold you in our hearts, always. 


The Achilles CT Chapter hosted a FUN-draiser at the Thomas Hooker Brewery on May 12th for their 2nd Annual Hope & Possibility® race presented by Cigna which will be on July 23rd. Registration for the H&P is open to all Achilles members (and Chapter athletes and guides) by clicking here . Enter promo code: ACHILLESRUNS to receive $5 off registration. Hotel rooms are blocked for $99/night with Achilles. See the event page for more information and to reserve a room in the block. We hope to see you in CT this summer! June looks to be a fun and busy month for CT Chapter athletes and their guides. The Team will be at the Amica Iron Horse Half Marathon, 10K & 5K on June 4th, followed by the Gaylord Gauntlet Obstacle 5K on June 24th. A few athletes and guides are also heading to the New York City Achilles H&P 4-miler on June 25th. Achilles CT visually-impaired athlete Mike Tubiak is representing Achilles at three upcoming Spartan race series: the Tri-State NY Sprint on June 3rd, the Pennsylvania Super on July 8th, and at the Super Beast in Vermont on September 16th. Way to go Mike and his guides Vivian and Casey!

Let the Games Begin - TriAchilles had its first event of the season on May 21st: the Bassman Triathlon in NJ. Charles Catherine, Lamar Brown, Alison Lynch, and Billy Davis completed the Sprint distance, while Evelyn Rodriguez won her age group in the Duathlon. The BIG NEWS: Alison's performance qualified her for National Championships in Wisconsin at the end of June. Team leader Charles placed 8th overall. Well done, everyone! Amazing!! 


July 16thNYC Tri (Olympic Level)

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

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



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