March Newsletter

achilles logo.png

From The National Manager - John Bowden

It has been a very busy month in March for Achilles NZ so to all our members, sponsors, partners, ambassadors, guides and volunteers, welcome to the March 2019 edition of the Achilles NZ newsletter.

The feature for this month was the launch of one new Chapter in Dunedin on the 17th of March and a relaunch of our very first Achilles chapter in Whangarei on the 24th of March. Very exciting times and along with Rachel Grunwell one of our Ambassadors who accompanied me to both launches, it was a privilege for both of us to be present and see out latest members walk, run or wheel in great weather along with the other invited guests. It is certainly a team effort in the launch of a new Chapter so thanks to those all who were involved especially so to Stacey our Dunedin Chapter Leader and Craig our Whangarei Chapter Leader. You can read more about these two in the newsletter

I also had the privilege of visiting one of our members Ian Walker in the Burwood Hospital while he is recovering from his January accident. It was great to see his smile and know that he is being well looked after all the staff and by his loving partner Louise (by the way Louise thanks for lunch !!!)

Achilles Dunedin Launch - 17th March 2019

On the 17th March Achilles Dunedin Was launched. We had a great turnout led by our Achilles Chapter Leader, Stacey Pearson. Our special Guest was Dunedin Councillor, Conrad Stedman. Below is the Speech he gave on the day…….

Dunedin speech by Councillor Conrad Stedman

Kia ora tatou It is a genuine privilege to be able to be here and be part of this landmark occasion - the launch of the Dunedin Chapter of Achilles International New Zealand. I know the Mayor Dave Cull would have loved to have been here for this but has a prior engagement.  Todays event is a fantastic way to launch the Dunedin chapter - by getting right down to business and getting in a bit of training in the process. Achilles International has grown in size and reputation since its launch in 1983. We have all heard the story of Dick Traum and his desire to run the New York Marathon.  It was life changing for him - and the organisation it sparked has been life changing for so many others - including, no doubt, many here today. I can only applaud the work done in this country by Achilles International - providing New Zealanders with Disabilities the opportunity to participate alongside able-bodied athletes in local mainstream events. I like the fact that Achilles aims to do this regardless of the participants age, ability or fitness level. Achilles Internationals commitment is to help each individual set and achieve their goals, whether it be a marathon, or simply a jog around the block. By providing down-to-earth practical support Achilles International has helped so many challenge the perceived limitations of their disability by expanding the scope of their ability. I note Achilles already has a number of busy, active chapters around New Zealand and I suspect there are many here who are excited by the launch of this Dunedin chapter.  I know Dunedin already has an active and successful community of athletes with disabilities and having the sort of support programme Achilles International offers will open the door for many others. Our city has many wonderful sports facilities - we are standing amongst some of them now - and this initiative will help many more people get the most they can out of them. I would like to acknowledge John Bowden - Achilles International NZs National Manager and Stacey Pearson, the leader of the new Dunedin Chapter, for their initiative, drive and determination to make this happen. It is another fine example of carrying the torch lit by Dick Traum more than 35 years ago. I would also like to acknowledge the crucial role of your principal sponsor Cigna. The support of sponsors is vital to the success of organisations such as Achilles.  So, again, thank you for the invitation to be here. This is a fantastic initiative.

It will be great to have a chapter of Achilles here as part of our Dunedin community.

Kind Regards

Cr Conrad Stedman

Meet our Dunedin Chapter Leader - Stacey Pearson


What Achilles Chapter are you a part of? Dunedin

 What Distance do you Run when you aren’t Guiding?  10k/half marathon/marathon

 What Event did you last Guide/Volunteer at? RTB Wellington

 Why did you become a Volunteer/Guide for Achilles NZ? I love the Achilles philosophy and what it provides for those with disabilities, all-inclusive and encouraging but what it also gives to those who choose to volunteer and guide.   I knew I wanted to be part of this organization and bring it to those here in Dunedin.

 What are you Hobbies/Interests? Running/Walking our dog/Gardening/being outdoors/Family

 What is your Favorite food?  Coconut Yoghurt/berries and nuts with a Green Tea – daily without fail!

 What do you love most about being involved with Achilles NZ? In such a short time the people I have met and the anticipation of those that I’ve yet to meet!

 If you could invite any four people to Dinner who would they be and why? Oh this was too hard – my list was exhausting. Graeme Norton - for keeping the conversation flowing and plenty of laughter. Joan Benoit-Samuelson - my running idol – who could forget the 1984 Olympic Marathon .  I was young and just loved that she was so little, so gutsy … and still is!! Diane Keaton - for her style, sense of humor and dress sense. George Clooney - who doesn’t love George Clooney?!?!  (sorry JB – you didn’t make the cut J)

 Do you have a favorite Quote? What is it? So many favourite quotes but 1 simple one we should all practice daily.







Achilles Whangarei Launch - 24th March 2019

Guest Speaker - Ian Babe

President of Athletics NZ and Eves Whangarei Athletics

Kia Ora.

As President of Athletics NZ and Patron of Eves Athletics Whangarei and a strong supporter of Parafed Northland and Achilles International I am very pleased to be part of the re-birth of Achilles International in Whangarei.  Both Val and I  have coached Parafed and Achilles Int. athletes in previous years.

 In previous years Craig Jessop and Peter Loft  the Northland Branch of Achilles International flourished in the North. In the meantime Parafed Athletics has continued to grow. The depth of the Para Fields at recent Athletic NZ Track & Field Championships were impressive – 41 competitors- a steady growth over the last few years building on Parafed Success at the  last Olympics – Liam Malone etc. Achilles International in Northland is once again reborn.  I have vivid memories of helping Craig with his fitness prep for his New York Marathon Goals.  Water running – a really good option . Peter Loft – driving force behind Achilles Int.  In NZ  - a pretty good Athletics Coach was the catalyst for the growth of Achilles International in the North and indeed was President of Achilles International NZ for many years.

Meet our Whangarei Chapter lead - Craig Jessop

What Achilles Chapter are you a part of? Whangarei

Craig Jessop

Craig Jessop

What Distance do you Run when you aren’t Guiding? 5km building up again

What Event did you last Guide/Volunteer at? Cycled the length of NZ 2004

Why did you become a Volunteer/Guide for Achilles NZ? Helped to start Achilles in 1994

What are you Hobbies/Interests? Motor racing, working on cars and motorbikes.

What is your Favorite food? Indian curry

What do you love most about being involved with Achilles NZ? Meeting others and exercising to keep fit

If you could invite any four people to Dinner who would they be and why? John key, Tim Wallace, Brooke Fraser and Greg Murphy.

Do you have a favorite Quote? What is it? Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to yourself.

Round the Bays Auckland

Group Photos of Athletes and Guides at Round the Bays Auckland

Group Photos of Athletes and Guides at Round the Bays Auckland

Round the Bays Auckland went ahead on the 3rd March. Achilles Had 25 Athletes and Guides taking part alongside Parafed NZ. Big Thank you to our Sponsor, Cigna New Zealand who hosted us and provided a great feed for everyone afterwards!

Sydney Running Festival - 15th September 2019

Make sure your part or the Achilles Team Travelling to Sydney for their annual Blackmores running festival! Below is the Package deal! Make sure you register via marathon tours! 
Races include the following....
Blackmores Marathon (7.00am start for wheelchair and 7.05am for others)

Blackmores Half Marathon (6.00am start),

Blackmores 10km Bridge run (8am start),

Blackmores 3.5km Family Run (9am start)

Sydeny running festival.jpg

Hawkes Bay Marathon - 18th May 2019

Register now for the Hawkes Bay Marathon and Associated events. Cigna NZ sponsors the 10km event so make sure you show them your support!

“Run away to Hawke's Bay for a running festival incorporating 42km, 21km, 10km and 3km kids run options.Take in the best highlights of the region, with flat easy running through local cycle trails, quiet country roads and pass vineyards and orchards - all finishing at the impressive Elephant Hill Estate & Winery where you can celebrate your efforts in style.” - Hawkes Bay Marathon Website

Rotorua Marathon - May 4th 2019


Join us for the 55th Rotorua Marathon on Saturday 4th May, 2019!!

First held in 1965 with 16 competitors, the Rotorua Marathon is one of the most historic road races in Oceania and affectionately known as “the people’s marathon”.

Depending on the distance you pick, you will enjoy a route through Government Gardens, through the Redwoods of Whakarewarewa forest, over the sulphur flats, or following the original marathon path around Lake Rotorua. As an Achilles International New Zealand supporter, use the pin code “ACH19” when you register to receive 10% off your entry fee.

Rotorua Marathon 2019
* When? Saturday 4th May 2019
* Distances? Full, Half (off-road), 10km, 5km 
* Visit the Rotorua Marathon site for more information:

Guide or Fundraise to Receive Free Entry Commit to act as a guide, and you will receive your entry for free! Or, if you choose to fundraise for Achilles International New Zealand and top $300, your Rotorua Marathon entry fee will be refunded (limited spaces, so get in quick!) We'll give you fundraising tips, along with the best training support we can to get you over the finish line. You will also receive special discounts!

Achilles Annual AGM and Awards Dinner

Achilles awards dinner.jpg

SAVE THE DATE - Achilles NZ Annual Awards dinner will be held on Friday the 24th May from 7pm - 10pm at the Millennium Institute of sport in Auckland. The AGM will be the following morning from 9.30am - 10.30am.


Final Word

Thanks as always to our sponsors, partners guides, volunteers and chapter leaders -I know the athletes of Achilles really do appreciate your passion and commitment to them and the Achilles family.

Do have a great month in April whether you are going to race or just train or attend the various Parkruns around the country. Do keep up all the great work in training and being part of this worldwide Achilles family.

Alana Lythe