Founded in 1983, Achilles International is a not-for-profit entity that enables adults and children with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream running events to promote personal achievement, enhance self-esteem and reduce barriers. In other words, Achilles International helps its athletes live life to the fullest!
Over the years, Achilles has developed specialized programs for adults, children and military veterans with a focus on health, family, camaraderie, sportsmanship, teamwork and rehabilitation. The organization has also launched formal programs to develop Achilles chapters across the United States and even abroad. One of its most popular programs is its Achilles Marathon Tour.
Of the 10 races undertaken each year on this tour, the TCS New York City Marathon is the “main event” as it brings together programs such as Achilles Freedom Team, Handcycles, United States Chapters, International Chapters and graduates of Achilles Kids – all under one spirited umbrella.
The Moody Endowment has twice given Achilles a grant for $100,000 to sponsor the Achilles athletes in the TCS New York City Marathon. The grants covered the cost of travel and race entry fees for many of the athletes. Achilles athletes and guides proudly completed the marathon with The Moody Endowment logo emblazoned on their bright yellow Achilles International shirts.
In 2019, more than 245 Achilles athletes with disabilities participated in the TCS New York City Marathon. The athletes displayed a tremendous amount of individual determination, grit and perseverance. The sight of these Achilles athletes competing in the marathon made a profound impression on the other runners while inspiring the thousands of spectators along the route.
Every day, in parks, gyms and on tracks, U.S. chapters of Achilles International provide athletes with disabilities with a rewarding program along with a community of support. Volunteers without disabilities and runners with disabling conditions come together to train, set goals and achieve. The focus of the 28 Chapters is on running, yet the overall objective is to bring hope, inspiration and the joys of achievement to all.
Achilles has had an international presence almost from the start: in 1985 the first international chapter launched in New Zealand. Over the last decade, international chapters have flourished at the rate of three or four per year. Today, there are 54 international chapters in 35 countries. Each year, between 75 and 90 members from international chapters will participate in the New York City Marathon. This experience not only provides athletes with an incredible sense of achievement, confidence, and pride—but it ripples out to make a positive impact on other aspects of their lives as well.