What is Achilles?
Achilles Ottawa is a club whose vision is to empower runners who are blind and visually impaired along with their guides in an environment of support. The club mirrors Achilles International, a non-profit organization formed by Dick Traum in 1983 which today has chapters and members in over 70 countries. In 1976, Dick Traum, an above the knee amputee, found himself approaching middle age and out of shape. After joining a local YMCA, Dick began running – small distances at first and then, eventually several miles. Within a year, Dick became the first amputee to run the New York City Marathon. For Dick the experience was life changing, leading to a powerful sense of achievement and self-esteem.
The Achilles Track Club, now called Achilles International, was Dick’s way of introducing people with a disability to the kind of athletic opportunities which changed his own life. Every day, in parks, gyms, and tracks all over the world, Achilles provides athletes with disabilities with a community of support. Able-bodied volunteers and disabled runners are encouraged to come together to train in a supportive environment. Within this environment, runners gain measurable physical strength and build confidence through their sense of accomplishment. For some, this translates into the pursuit of high level athletic success; for all, it contributes to a life experience which goes far beyond the simple act of running.
While Achilles Ottawa is primarily a running club for individuals who are blind or visually impaired and their guides, our door is open to everyone. We believe, in keeping with the philosophy of Achilles International, that sports provide a way for accomplishing our main objective: to bring hope, inspiration and the joys of achievement to people of all abilities.