Achilles Australia bringing people with disabilities together at Sydney Running Festival

Look out for a sea of yellow shirts in this Sunday’s Sydney Running Festival as charity running group Achilles International Australia hold their first National Running Event with teams from Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne joining together in the events.

Achilles Australia helps members with a disability to enjoy the health benefits of walking and running with weekly training sessions and encourages members to participate in community events. For the first time, over 75 Achilles members from the three clubs will be taking part in this iconic event together. They include 27 runners and walkers with disabilities, many of who are blind or vision impaired.

Operating since 1997, Achilles seeks to create an Australia where people with disabilities can enjoy the social, recreational and health benefits of an active lifestyle. Volunteer guides assist members with disabilities at weekly training sessions and in community events, in a supportive social environment where people with disabilities can achieve life changing goals. Achilles has trained past and potential future Paralympians and welcomes all levels of fitness and people with a range of disabilities.

Achilles Sydney founding member and President, Ellis Janks says, “In the 20 years I’ve been involved with Achilles, I have seen incredible positive changes in the lives of many of our members (both with disabilities & volunteer guides). This motivates me to maintain my involvement with this amazing club.

Talking of the coming together of the clubs Ellis remarks “It is an absolute honour to host our sister clubs from Canberra and Melbourne in Sydney for the inaugural Achilles National Running Event. Having the opportunity for more of our members with disabilities to meet each other as well as travel and take part in such an iconic running event will help create life long memories. It also gives us a great opportunity to show the wider community that having a disability doesn’t mean you can’t get out there and challenge yourself – be it in the 3.5k family walk or the full marathon. We have teams taking part in all events this weekend.”

So if you are out on the course this weekend and see groups of walkers and runners in yellow (some with GUIDE on their shirts) say a friendly hello and offer words of encouragement. Achilles members love nothing more than a cheer of “Go Achilles” as they make their way along the course. Please be mindful of our members requiring a little extra space to get past as many will be connected to their guides with tethers (ropes held in hands or round waists).

Achilles Australia wishes all of our members, volunteers and all other participants the best of luck in the event. We would also like to thank event organisers Pont3 Ltd for their assistance in registering our guides in this event. Without our guides, our members would be unable to participate in large community events.

If you want to know more about Achilles come speak to us on race day or check out our website: http://www.achillesaustralia.org.au/