FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gabrielle Greeves
A Marathon for Everyone: Disabled and able-bodied
Achilles Members compete in the NYC MARATHON
New York, New York- Imagine running a marathon with a prosthetic, taking
on the course in a wheelchair, or running blind. On Sunday, November 7th,
2004 - over 300 Achilles athletes from 27 countries will be ascending on
New York City to run with thousands of other competitors in the NYC
Achilles members are people with all types of disabilities, such as
visual impairment, cerebral palsy, paraplegia, amputation, multiple
sclerosis, cancer traumatic head injury, stroke victims, and organ
transplants. All athletes will use adaptive equipment that allows them to
compete as marathoners. Achilles runners participate with crutches, in
wheelchairs, on hand-cranks, on prostheses and without aids.
"Meet the Athletes"
Athletes include a number of first time runners such as Noriena Nodraj,
who is visually impaired. There are, also, world-class athletes such as
Helene Hines who is favored to win the "Female Hand- Crank Division".
Amongst the other athletes are runners who began over 20 years ago with
Achilles such as Sandy Davidson Ph. D, who while in his 40's had a major
stroke. In order to compete, Sandy flies in from Scotland. And, for the
17th consecutive year, Andrea De Mello, a paralympian representing Brazil
in fencing, and Zoe Koplewitz who, as a result of MS uses crutches, come to
complete the course in under 15hrs.
"Going beyond the call of Duty"
Joining us this year are the "Achilles Marathoners of Walter Reed", an
exceptional group of military personnel who have accepted sports as a means
to speed their recovery and regain their mobility skills. All are first
time marathoners who typically are amputees wounded during the war in
Iraqi. Participation in this event has come as a direct result of the
Walter Reed Rehabilitation Program, designed to improve the quality of life
for recently wounded "war heroes" through the development of skills and
capabilities needed for personal independence, emotional stability and
successful integration into mainstream athletics.
"I think if I can do the marathon I can do anything."
--A thought shared by most if not all Achilles athletes
About the Achilles Track Club
The Achilles Track Club is a worldwide organization that encourages
people with all kinds of disabilities to participate in running with the
general public. Under the guidance of the Achilles founder, Dick Traum,
Ph.D., the first amputee to run a marathon, we have provided support,
training, technical expertise, equipment, and other aids to disabled
runners at all levels of ability so that they can participate in mainstream
distance running. Since its inception, Achilles has expanded into several
chapters in the United States and over one hundred chapters in forty
countries- including Canada, Japan, Ecuador, Columbia, Russia, and South