Above: Some of our amazing Freedom Team handcyclists crossing the finish line during the Detroit Marathon

Achilles Heel
November 2015
On October 18th, our Freedom Team participated in the Detroit Marathon. I joined the race with no thought of competing but rather with the goal of finishing my 56th marathon as a hard workout before the New York City Marathon. I have a number of observations:

First, I've seen these soldiers over several years and they have evolved from social runners to serious athletes. Almost everyone was in marathon shape and, with me being the exception, everybody looked ripped! Their times were extraordinary! Tom Davis, who is a member of our Freedom Team Elite, finished in an astonishing 1 hour 12 minutes. This is fast enough that the guides on bikes anticipated his speed and trained extra hard in order to keep up with him. This is a world class time on a relatively difficult course. We have a world class team of superb athletes!

A second observation concerns the fantastic optimism, camaraderie and sense of self that these vets have. Almost everyone was a single, double or triple amputee. Many were accompanied by their spouses/significant other and kids. They exuded a sense of joy that I believe is associated with their activities... having something to do, a goal to reach, as well as a strong network of competitors and friends -- having a mission in life is a winning combination.

Third, the Freedom Team was hosted by the Chevy Division of General Motors. Dealers got together and contributed funds for travel, accommodation and very generous, useful gift bags. I received one and was reminded of Christmas - there were so many great things including a beautiful backpack, a jacket for the cold weather as well as a cap and gloves. I wondered why they included gloves and then in the early morning we were greeted by snowflakes! How generous and thoughtful!

What a great way to spend a weekend. Bravo!

Above: Achilles International at the New York City Marathon


Achilles had 294 athletes and 330 guides in the TCS NYC Marathon on November 1st. Achilles NYC welcomed Achilles athletes and guides from all around the world to their home turf in New York. Members of the Freedom Team and Achilles athletes from 8 national chapters and 18 international chapters (including Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, France, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa, and more) made their way through the challenging five borough course. Achilles was also joined by program partners, Team Reeve, Helen's Angels, United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), and Bonnie Marks' Traumatic Brain Injury group
Extra special thanks to The Ribbon restaurant, for supporting Achilles in the Family Reunion Area, Eric Baum of the Federal Reserve Bank of New YorkKoma Gandy of Ernst & Young and to all of the volunteers who came out to support Achilles marathoners after their great accomplishment! 
Achilles athletes, guides, charity entrants, board members, and supporters gathered at the Holiday Inn for a pre-race carbo-load dinner. Everybody enjoyed a hearty meal of pasta and bread while Achilles Director of Development, Megan Lombardo, announced this year's award winners. Kyoko Rooney presented the James Rooney Award to longtime Achilles Nashville volunteer Amy Harris. Alisa Fastenberg presented the Steven R. Fastenberg Award to Achilles Kid, Sheridan Basso, for her newfound dedication and enthusiasm for running. Ted Rogers presented the Ted and Betsy Roger Award to Marcia Monaco who would be participating in her 19th marathon that Sunday. Dick Traum presented the Albert Arroyo Award to athlete John Pierre (aka The Ultimate Running Machine) for his heartfelt commitment to and participation in the Achilles community. Janet Patton presented the 2015 Chevrolet Award for Outstanding Freedom Team Member to Nick Koulchar and, last but not least, Calinda McLaughlin presented The Donald Arthur Award to Charles Catherine. Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate the outstanding athletes and guides of Achilles International - it was a great night!


Thank you to all our NYC Marathon Charity Entrants who raised over $90,000 on and offline to support all the Achilles programs! We ran 32-deep this year as charity entrants took to CrowdRise to show their support in exchange for guaranteed entry into this coveted marathon. Our charity entrant program was so successful this year! We could not do it without you!

Achilles NYC in action at Race for Rehab in Valhalla, NY


Early in the morning on Sunday, October 11th, a group of sleepy New Yorkers piled into a school bus and set course for Westchester. Grumbling only a little bit about the time, the group of 35 athletes and guides from Achilles NYC made their way to Valhalla to join the 17th Annual Race for Rehab 5k at the New York Medical College

Achilles NYC was joined by Achilles Westchester and other runners from the Westchester community to make this the best attended run since the race's inception. All 133 of these runners, walkers, and wheelers participated in a fun warm-up led by one of the college's students. This was just one of the many ways that the students made Race for Rehab so special. The wheelers started first, followed by the runners shortly after. Carlos Guzman and Ibadete Thaqi were the first male and female wheelers to cross the finish line; and Keith Brown and Eleanor Chapman, the first ambulatory male and female Achilles runners. 

After the race, Achilles and the New York Medical College celebrated 17 years of fundraising and running with a performance by the campus acapella group, an award ceremony, and a raffle. Special thanks to Janet Dolot, Anthony Sozzo, Jennifer Joslyn and all of the students from NYMC for all of their hard work and help in this year's race. Achilles can't wait for next year!


This October the Achilles Paratriathlon Team reached a new milestone at the Montauk Triathlon. Each athlete was a master of their sport, their commitment to their own betterment, and their dedication to their Achilles teammates. Whether they were racing for the first time or veteran triathletes, all 30 members of the team (which included 15 Achilles athletes - the most to compete in one race at one time) overcame horrendous weather conditions and braved emotional milestones to get to the starting line. Our athletes participated in sprint, Olympic, and three even finished a Half Ironman distance - 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run. It was an incredible accomplishment for all. 
Thank you to our sponsors who made this season possible: Champion System, the JCC of Manhattan, Running Company, and Work Live Tri. The biggest thank you goes to our guides who always show up, give their all, and then do it all over again the next weekend. Thank you to all of our guides and sponsors for symbolically holding each Achilles athlete's hand and crossing that finish line together this 2015 season. Go Achilles!


Achilles is proud to announce that on Thursday, October 29th, over 250 of our most generous contributors and friends came together to raise over $100,000 at our 25th Annual Gala. This year we celebrated Achilles Heroes - those who have given of themselves for the advancement of our mission. We congratulate Sharon Barbano, Toran Gaal, Marcel Lignon, Saranchuluu Otgon, and Melissa Wilcox on their accomplishments and we thank them for their sacrifices. Thank you to all who contributed to making this night a huge success. The night left us looking forward to 2016.


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.

Above: We had another fantastic Marathon Tour this year! 
Thank you to all our Freedom Team members!

Above: Trevor, Miguel and Marty celebrate post race.


Achilles Kids have been running their hearts out this fall! Following up our strong showing in the Fifth Avenue Mile, we had 26 children compete in the Terry Fox 5k. It was a beautiful day and an exciting race for our crew. Terry Fox is always especially meaningful for Achilles, given that Achilles founder Dick Traum inspired Terry on his cross-country trek. We were all thrilled to race with our Achilles buddies and support a great cause. 

Weeks after the Terry Fox run, Achilles Kids proved they truly are the marathon runners of the future by competing in the Dash to the Finish 5k. Starting at the UN, winding through Times Square and Finishing at the Marathon Finish Line in Central Park, this race always makes our kids feel like they've hit the big time! Warmest congratulations to all the kids who worked so hard in pursuit of their goals. From our tallest to our smallest, every single one of them gained strength and confidence through hard work. We will keep up the hard work as we prepare to team up with MetLife at the Damon Runyon 5k in Yankee Stadium in December!


Our heartfelt thanks to Running Man, Tom McGrath, for another exciting 100-mile run - for the third consecutive year! - in support of our Achilles Kids Program. This year, Tom's Run raised over $70,000 and spanned five days through all the boroughs of New York City...beginning in Manhattan at PS 721 where 50 members of the Achilles Kids program presented him with an oversized trophy. Tom ran through the streets of Manhattan, then onto the Bronx where over 250 kids from PS 176 and MS 180 joined Tom for part of that day's run.
On the third day of the run, Tom stopped by four public schools  PS 169 in Bayside, PS 135 in Queens Village, PS 201 in Flushing and PS 118 in St. Albans  where he was cheered on by many very excited Achilles Kids members all along the way. After a 20-mile romp through Staten Island, including a stop at PS 69, Tom moved on to his final leg of the run  on a very chilly and rainy day  into Brooklyn. His final stop was at PS 222 where over 500 kids celebrated his 100-mile achievement in the school's packed auditorium with a thunderous ovation! What an exhilarating end to an absolutely awesome week. Seeing all the kids and sharing in their excitement throughout the week left an indelible mark on all of us. 
A great BIG thank you to the Adaptive Physical Education teachers at all the schools we visited for their help and support. And of course, our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Tom McGrath!


Cory Nolan is our November Volunteer of the Month. Since Cory joined us in 2011 he has exemplified the motto: One Team, One Dream. Cory coined this great phrase and reminds us of the huge impact our volunteers have on everything we do as we work together. Thank you, Cory!

"Communication and team work are more important than ever. And when it all clicks together, moves in-tandem, wonderful things happen. Just stand at the finish line at one of our races, you'll quickly understand --- the joy, the excitement, the thrill. It will always keep you coming back." Cory Nolan
To read more about Cory, please click here.

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

Chapter Happenings &
Upcoming Events in November

In October, Achilles CT had 21 registered athletes, 19 guides and 45 Race Day volunteers in the Eversource Hartford Marathon, Half & 5K. Many of the athletes were from outside the state including New York, Tennessee and Vermont.

On Sunday, November 8th, a spirited group of Achilles NYC members coursed the multi-level paths of Riverside Park in the Generosity 5K. This fundraising initiative continues through November 20th, so please help these fabulous athletes and guides EXCEED their collective goal of $15,000. Proceeds support all NYC programs -- Achilles Kids, the NYC Chapter, Triathlon Team and Handcycle program.

November 15th - Damon Runyon 5k
December 6th or 13th - SoulCycle Fundraiser - Keep an eye out for details of another great SoulCycle event! It promises to be even bigger and better than last year's event!!

Achilles Greater Phoenix held its monthly team workout on Saturday, October 24th in preparation for the 3TV Phoenix 10K event, which included a 5K, a 10K, and a half-marathon on Sunday, November 1st.
It's never too late to consider your spring race calendar. How would you like Guaranteed Entry to the NYC Half 2016 while still supporting Achilles? 

For more information please contact  Sarah Tel 973.615.7375



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