September Newsletter

To all our members, sponsors, partners, ambassadors, guides and volunteers. Welcome to the September edition of the Achilles NZ newsletter.

Chapter News

Achilles Tauranga

Tauranga members gathering for their training run.

Tauranga members gathering for their training run.

Wow have we grown here in Tauranga! We had absolutely beautiful spring weather for our morning training. We reached double figures for the first time with 13 of us training. With the lovely weather came added motivation. Stephen, Sara A, and Leslie decided they were no longer walkers and started running! Beyond proud of our new members and their progress. So excited to have some wonderful new guides enjoying getting to know their Athletes as well.

Well done to everyone who participated in the Hamilton Half over the weekend. Thanks Mark for representing Tauranga Achilles and guiding the wonderful Te Huia. Hope you enjoyed wearing the magical yellow shirt for the first time at an event.

Stevie and his guide navigating the turns along the walkway

Stevie and his guide navigating the turns along the walkway

Well done to Stevie…. “PB in the 10km at the Garmin Tauranga event. Superb weather. How many corners can you put in one estuary walkway?! In the photo below you can see all the turns, and concentration on our faces as we navigate over 1km like that. One missed call and we would have been in 1 meter of thick mud. Fantastically organised. Fully recommend this event for next year.” - Stevie

Achilles Auckland

Some of our Athletes and guides before the Hamilton Half.

Some of our Athletes and guides before the Hamilton Half.

Nice work Mike and Lloyd completing another Hobsonville Point parkrun with our two fabulous new guides who show so much passion and enthusiasm!

Huge congrats to Stephen Jenkins and his wonderful guides for completing the 10km classic at the Devonport Half Marathon on Sunday in an outstanding time of 2.02.14!

Well done to all the amazing athletes and guides who ran/walked/wheeled their way through Hamilton Half Marathon last weekend, You are all amazing, incredible and inspiring!

Mike Lloyd and his guides at parkrun

Mike Lloyd and his guides at parkrun

More Auckland fun at our Saturday morning track session. Amazing turn out of guides and athletes and brilliant to see everyone smiling and enjoying their run/walk/wheel. Welcome to our new guide John, lovely to have you along!

Seven Sharp did a great piece on the incredibly motivational Rachel Grunwell and Achilles Auckland athlete Tamati Pearse ahead of the Sydney Running Festival!
Check the video out below!

Achilles Rotorua and Taupo

BIG NEWS! This Saturday the 5th October at 10am we will be hosting a event 2 Mile Bay Sailing Club, Taupo, to mark the official launch of our newest Achilles Chapter - ACHILLES TAUPO! We even got a article about the launch in the local newsletter. Follow the button below to read the full article.

Congratulations to our athletes and guides who completed the Hamilton Half Marathon and associated events! Here is some pics of our members in action!

Achilles Hamilton

It was great to have so many Achilles members participating at the Hamilton Half Marathon and 10km event. Check out our awesome team of Athlete, Guides and Volunteers in the group photo below!

Achilles Whangarei

Our members have been out enjoying the Whangarei parkrun on a Staurday morning. Thanks some much to all the Whangarei Park run team. We really appreciate all your support Thanks to Allison and Rachel for guiding for Jacqui and Steve who enjoyed their walk. Paris and Hadlee enjoyed their walks too! ( Dogs pictured below with Achilles Whangarei athletes and guides.)

Sydney Running Festival

Congratulations to our Achilles Athletes and Guides who took part in the Sydney Running festival on the 15th of September. It was beautiful weather, the course going over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and finishing at the famous Opera House! It was also great to meet fellow Achilleans from Achilles Canberra and Achilles Sydney. (pics below are Achilles athletes and guides gathering before and after the event)

Pure Sports Nutrition - WIN A YEAR'S WORTH OF GELS

Competition poster

Competition poster

Purchase any PURE Sports Nutrition product from our retailers between now and December 20th 2019 and you can enter the draw to WIN A YEAR'S WORTH OF PURE GELS* (valued at up to $1,149).

PLUS! Your chance to win one of 10 spot prizes drawn throughout the competition period.

1. Purchase any PURE Sports Nutrition product from any of our retail stockists.
2. Take a photo of your store receipt/proof of purchase and submit your entry.
3. Enter as many times as you purchase between now and 20 December 2019.

T's & C's apply: View full terms & conditions here


Tips for Guiding a Blind or Visually Impaired (VI) Athlete

We found this article written by Achilles Nashville and thought it would be relevant for any guides or anyone thinking of becoming a guide.

Achilles Nashville Members

Achilles Nashville Members

If you’re running with a VI runner for the first time, you might feel a little nervous about the whole thing. That’s not unusual, and we want you to feel comfortable. You will be paired with a runner and their guide to gain an opportunity to see how guiding works. This is a good time to ask questions and take a short turn guiding while with an experienced guide.


It’s good practice to talk to the runner you will be guiding before you run together for the first time. This will give you and your VI running partner time to discuss strategies on how to make the run go as smooth as possible. Things to ask your athlete before you start:

  • How much do you usually run?

  • What is your regular pace?

  • What guiding method do you prefer (e.g., tether, hold elbow)?

  • Do you like to talk or listen to music when you run?

  • What side do you prefer to run on?

  • Can you please describe your loss of vision and how it affects running?

  • What cues (e.g., verbal, physical) and assistance work for you during a run?

  • Any special things I need to know?

It is generally helpful and appreciated by athletes when guides point out things of interest. Different athletes like different amounts of talk and information. Simply ask how much information is enough and how much is too much.

Regarding music, it is good practice if an athlete is listening to music to keep one ear bud out so they can hear directions and other environmental sounds. It is strongly discouraged for guides to wear earbuds as this distracts from their primary responsibility of keeping the athlete safe.

During Guiding

  • Start slowly when you first begin guiding. This gives you a chance to get familiar with this new concept or person.

  • The VI runner should set the pace, unless the VI runner asks you to.

  • Be alert and communicate.

  • Be aware of what is ahead of both you and your athlete at all times including such things as distances, elevation, obstacles and things in your peripheral vision.

  • It is helpful when giving directions, to give at least 3 steps notice of the event so as to give prior warning (e.g., curb up in 3, 2, 1, up).

  • Gently push the arm of the runner when you need to move in the direction of your runner. When you need your athlete to move in your direction, gently pull on the tether or arm. Always pair with spoken direction.

  • Inform your athlete of things you are approaching such as narrowing path, speed hump, traffic lights, and obstacles.

  • Inform your athlete in advance of any terrain changes such as going from pavement to dirt path, puddles ahead, and going across the grass.

  • If you need to run in single file briefly, the guide should go first and lead the athlete through. Give your athlete fair warning.

  • When using a tether, the length is long enough for arm movement and short enough to be responsive to directional changes. It is safer to loop your fingers through the loop instead of looping it around your wrist, to allow either the guide or athlete to let go safely and avoid injury should one of them fall.

  • Inform your athlete of potential hazards (e.g., slippery bridges, gaps, puddles, potholes, bike riders, strollers)

Some common directional commands include:

  • Duck – When athlete needs to duck down (e.g., low tree limb in path), let them know when they can safely resume upright posture also.

  • Uneven ground –Give athlete warning when ground is uneven (e.g., road work causing bumpy roads)

  • Speed humps – Give athlete advance warning for humps, bumps in the road

  • Left/Right – When directional changes are needed

  • Curb up/Curb down – When approaching curbs

Tip: You can practice with other fellow guide runners by running blindfolded and allowing others to guide you. This will enable you to feel what it’s like running with little or no vision, and you can make the necessary adjustments when guiding a visually impaired runner. Keep in mind, however, that a runner with VI has skills and experiences related to their disability that you cannot begin to experience after a trial run blindfolded. They have more acute skills and are likely much more tuned into changes in surfaces, environmental sounds, the wind, words being said, and things around them in general. This practice might give you a little more awareness and sensitivity to what the VI runner experiences.

After Guiding

  • Help your athlete get water, snacks if available

  • Talk about how the run went and if any changes would be helpful

  • Make sure your athlete is safe before you leave (e.g., with group, at community center, has ride)

Guide of the Month - Debbie Atkins

Debbie Atkins

Debbie Atkins

What Achilles Chapter are you a part of? Rotorua Chapter

What Distance do you Run when you aren’t Guiding? I don’t run but walk probably 5kms

What Event did you last Guide/Volunteer at? I guided one of our members at our “walk in their shoes” event

Why did you become a Volunteer/Guide for Achilles? My husband and I joined after he had a stroke.

What are you Hobbies/Interests? Family, reading, travel, crafting, walking

What is your Favorite food? Roast meat with lots of roasted Kumera and Potato

Who is your Favorite Musician? Elton John

Who is your Favorite Sportsperson? I don’t have one

A book that everyone should read is…….. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

What do you love most about being involved with Achilles NZ? The people for the friendship, acceptance and family atmosphere

If you could invite any four people to Dinner who would they be and why? (Could be celebrities, Musicians, Athletes etc..) Elton John (he is an extremely talented man), Princess Diana (She was a very caring person}, Whoopi Goldberg (she would be lots of fun), Judi Dench (A fabulous actress)

Do you have a favorite Quote? What is it? “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations”

Upcoming Events

Queenstown Marathon

Queenstown Marathon Banner

Queenstown Marathon Banner

Welcome to the World’s Most Beautiful Marathon. Set between the backdrop of the world renowned Crown and Remarkable mountain ranges, and taking in the best highlights of the Queenstown Lakes region on hard packed cycle trails, this is truly a flat out beautiful course. After a sell-out event in 2018, demand for 2019 is expected to be high!y Popular! Enter Here:

Ekiden Relay

Rotorua Ekiden welcomes people of all fitness levels and abilities to sign up for this marathon distance event. Rotorua Ekiden is broken down into six achievable legs for your team, ranging from 3.24km to 9.27km. Get your friends and workmates together and register for the 16th anniversary of Rotorua’s most fun dress-up team relay event because you’re gonna love it.

Enter Here:

Jaden Movald at last years event

Jaden Movald at last years event

Thank you to our Sponsors


Alana Lythe