Achilles International is a worldwide organisation whose mission is to enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics, promote personal achievement, and enhance self-esteem and lower barriers.
In 1976, New Yorker 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 accomplishment and self-confidence. In 1983, seeking to provide that same opportunity to other people with disabilities, Dick created the Achilles Track Club, now called Achilles International.
ACHILLES IN NEW ZEALAND
The first athlete with a disability to travel from New Zealand to do the New York Marathon with Achilles Track Club was Brian Froggatt from Dargaville in 1985. Brian is an above knee amputee who has gone on to be a champion weightlifter and still keeps in touch Dick Traum.
In 1993 John Riley became the second above knee amputee from New Zealand to complete the New York Marathon along with his coach Peter Loft, both from Whangarei. When they returned from New York, John and Peter - along with Craig Jessop and Myles Flynn, and supported by Gina Flynn and Yvonne Loft - set up the Achilles Track Club New Zealand, based in Auckland.
Today Achilles International New Zealand (Achilles NZ) provides New Zealanders with disabilities, from all across the country, the opportunity to participate alongside able-bodied athletes in local mainstream events, like Round the Bays, Taupo Half Marathon and Wellington Marathon (to name just a few), as well as at high-profile international events like the New York Marathon.