Enabling All Athletes at Achilles
A bright, sunny morning greeted more than 5,500 athletes as they prepared for the Achilles Hope & Possibility (4M) in Central Park. Following yesterday's Front Runners New York LGBT Pride Run (5M), the event closed out a weekend of races that welcomed runners of all backgrounds.
In line with the mission of Achilles International—to enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream running events in order to promote personal achievement—this race included athletes of all abilities, giving handcyclists, wheelchair athletes, and mobility-impaired athletes their own space on the starting line.
Within that pack of runners was comedian Jon Stewart. The former host of The Daily Show has supported this race for several years, and he served as a Race Buddy at today's event.
Breaking the tape in the runners' division were Mengistu Tabor Nebsi of the West Side Runners in 19:18 and Askale Merachi of Urban Athletics in 21:49.
Leading the handcyclist division was Dave Nadeau in 15:07, while Ricardo Corral won the wheelchair athlete race in 34:13. All runners who completed the race took home a finisher's medal.
Kids' races followed the four-miler, and youth earned their own finisher medals...
...although some kids opted to earn a medal with the full four-miler over Central Park's hills.
So crazy proud of this boy. #goachilles 4 miles with 4 big hills, 35 minutes!!! This is Willys 16th race in the last two years! @nyrr youth programs and races have changed this #nyrryoungrunner!!! Team for Kids makes it possible for kids like Willy to #getoutandrun and positively influence their lives!! Please think about donating! Link in my bio! #teamforkids #marathontraining #tcsnycmarathon2017 #running #runhappy #runforlife #runnerscommunity #runningmotivation #runwillyrun #kidsrunning #kidsarethefuture
Among the many inspirational stories within the field of athletes, one in particular showcased Achilles International's ongoing work with veterans: Gene, an Achilles team member and a paralyzed Army veteran, participated in the event using a ReWalker exoskeleton.
Have you EVER seen a paralyzed Army vet walk again? 😭😭😭 Amazing day with @nyrr and @achillesnyc and #REWALK guiding as Gene walks again. First exo-skeleton to ever do so in a road event 💞// #goachilles #nyc #nyrr #army #veterans #history #impossibleisnothing #centralpark #teamachilles #inspiration #justdoit