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Our mission is to enable people with disabilities to participate in mainstream running in order to promote personal achievement, enhance self-esteem and lower barriers to living a fulfilling life.
Achilles International of Colorado welcomes all people with disabilities to the wonderful world of RUNNING! In Achilles parlance, running means any form of forward locomotion - conventional running, walking, wheeling, or swinging through crutches!
In 1976, Dick Traum, an above the knee amputee, found himself approaching middle age and out of shape. After joining a local YMCA, Dick began running - small distances at first and then, eventually several miles. Within a year, Dick became the first amputee to run the New York City Marathon. The experience was life changing, bringing a powerful sense of achievement and self-esteem. In 1983, seeking to provide that same opportunity to other people with disabilities, Dick created the Achilles Track Club, now called Achilles International.
Today, this non-profit organization has chapters and members in over 65 locations in the United States and abroad. Every day, in parks, gyms, and tracks all over the world, Achilles provides athletes with disabilities with a community of support. Able-bodied volunteers and disabled runners come together to train in an environment of support and community. Within this community, runners gain measurable physical strength and build confidence through their sense of accomplishment, which often transfers to other parts of their life.
Over the years, Achilles has also developed specialized programs for children and war veterans. Achilles Kids provides training, racing opportunities, and an in-school program for children with disabilities, while our Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans program brings running programs and marathon opportunities to disabled veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
While our program focuses on running, the truth is, sports are simply the tool for accomplishing our main objective: to bring hope, inspiration and the joys of achievement to people with disabilities.
- Michael Oliva
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