Achilles International-Nashville

Upcoming Events

Guide and Athlete running the 1 miler

Giving Machines

The Giving Machine is here! What’s the Giving Machine you ask?Usually, we visit a vending machine to get something for ourselves, but LightTheWorld Giving Machines are a way to give to someone else.

Imagine swiping your credit card at a vending machine—but instead of buying a candy bar for yourself, you are buying items for local and global non-profits or organizations in need. Giving Machines make it easy to support these charities and provide them with items such as running shoes, school supplies, pots and pans, hay for horses, diapers, sleeping bags, and even ducks. One hundred percent of your donation will be used for the purchased item, similar items, or services of greater need as determined by the applicable charitable organization.

Can I donate online?

Absolutely! You can donate online to the organizations participating in the Giving Machines. Under each city in the “The Nonprofits” webpage, click on the charity’s name to visit their website and donate in support of Light the World online. Will be available during the period Giving Machines is open from November 21-December 30.


Code of Conduct

Achilles Code of conduct


  • Show respect to Achilles staff and fellow club members at all times;
  • Conduct themselves in a manner that will ensure a welcoming, respectful, and comfortable club environment for all;
  • Always show respect and appreciation for the volunteers who give their time to help the club and/or event(s);
  • Never yell, taunt, or threaten physical violence upon another member of the club, a staff member, volunteer or event participant or event spectator (Members with a criminal history of violence or with a legal restraining order against them by another member may be barred from membership and participation in all club activities);
  • Never use abusive or vulgar language, or make racial, ethnic or gender-related slurs or derogatory comments at club events;
  • Never make unwanted verbal, sexual or physical contact with other members; 
  • Respect the age, religion, ethnic background, gender and sexual orientation when interacting with teammates, staff, other running clubs, participants at group runs, races, activities, social events, clinics, seminars, or via the Internet in email, texts, public forums and social media sites; 
  • Communicate appropriately via email and/ or text, refrain from sending continued and persistent contact between practices
  • Behave in a manner that is safe, and does not put themselves or others at risk of physical harm or legal liability;
  • Observe and obey all rules and regulations governing races, including those governing the sale or transfer of race bibs; 
  • Never knowingly misrepresent themselves to Achilles chapter leaders in order to gain entry to or reimbursement for races they have not trained for and cannot complete.
  • Learn proper operation and care of Achilles equipment on loan (handcycles, tandem bikes, racing chairs, etc.) and treat the equipment with respect.  
  • Operate adaptive equipment in a fashion that does not endanger others and follows rules set by race officials.

Please immediately report inappropriate actions or behaviors, in writing, to Achilles leadership. 

Membership may be terminated for violations of this Code of Conduct.  

John Hardin is Running the Appalachian Trail and Raising Money

“Guess-When-John-Stops-Running” Appalachian Trail Game!

On June 21st, 3:11 EST, Nashville’s John Hardin set off to break the record for the fastest time of the 2,189 mile Appalachian Trail. The current record is 41 days, 7 hours and 39 minutes. Will John be faster?  Will he be slower?  Just exactly WHEN will this man stop running!? Make your guesses and help support Achilles!  For a suggested donation of $10 per guess — 100% tax deductible — we’ll keep a spreadsheet of your name and the times that you choose, the day, the hour and the minute.  The guess that comes closest without going over to the time that John stops running will win two tickets to an Edible Nashville farm or creek dinner, a $300 plus value!!!  The next four runners up (pun intended) will each win a $25 Fleet Feet Nashville gift card! There will also be door prizes with cool swag from Achilles and HardWin Adventures!

One of the projects we hope to fund is a power-steered running stroller for Will Ferrell, one of our newest Achilles athletes. This vehicle will allow Will to actively participate in runs and races, steering his own vehicle while his running teammate pushes from behind. To follow John’s progress, sign up for his 2022 FKT Appalachian Trail page on Facebook and read dispatches of his efforts in The Pamphleteer.

farm table

National Blind Running Unity Day

In place of the canceled 2020 Marathon National Championships, USABA will be holding its first-ever virtual Blind Running Unity Day. We encourage visually impaired joggers and runners of all ability levels across the country to lace up your shoes and go for a run, whether it is indoors on a treadmill or outside with a sighted guide.Many may never desire to travel to a destination race or run a marathon, but there is no reason why you can’t become part of this ever-growing community of visually impaired runners.

In place of the canceled 2020 Marathon National Championships, USABA will be holding its first-ever virtual Blind Running Unity Day. We encourage visually impaired joggers and runners of all ability levels across the country to lace up your shoes and go for a run, whether it is indoors on a treadmill or outside with a sighted guide.Many may never desire to travel to a destination race or run a marathon, but there is no reason why you can’t become part of this ever-growing community of visually impaired runners.

Please speak to Amy or Sara if you want to join in this event!

National Blind Running Unity Day logo December 6

Achilles This Week

Wednesday’s Practice: We sure have had our share of wet Wednesdays. As much as it rained on Wednesday though, the two-hour window for getting to and from practice was the best of the day Wednesday. With temps in the 50’s that made a great outdoor run/ walk! 

This Wednesday’s (Feb. 9): Layer up and come on out to practice. Hope to see you at McCabe Park Community Center at 5:30 ready to run, walk, or roll!
Remember to: RSVP 24 hours in advance to or text Amy or Lizzy. That allows us time to assure there are enough guides for all our awesome athletes.

Wear your mask when entering the Community Center and please stay home if you have any Covid like symptoms or have been around anyone who does. 

Joanne in an Achilles Jacket
Hot Chocolate is like a Hug from the Inside

Hot Chocolate 5k/ 15k February 12

Hot Chocolate 5k/ 15k February 12: Be sure to wish Good Luck to all the athletes ( and guides participating in the Hot Chocolate Race on Saturday, February 12, 2022. Athletes Registered: Amy S., James, Shelby, Dwaine, Chris, Lizzy, Matt, Kassondra, Eddie,  Christel Guides: Aaron, Allison S., Taylor S., Carrie, Bridgett, Amy H., John S., Dana, William, Jessa, Aramis, Randy, Shannon

Hope & Possibility® Planning Help Needed

Allison Sims and Lauren Lowinger, co-chairs for this year’s annual Hope & Possibility® Race, are asking for help with the planning and organization of this year’s race. If you are willing to help out on one of the H&P committees please them know. You can email or talk to Allison or Lauren at practice.

The Big Payback 2022

The Big Payback is coming back, and we are participating!

The Big Payback, a community-wide, online giving day hosted by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, returns at 6 pm on Wednesday, May 4, and goes through 6 pm on  Thursday, May 5, and Achilles International-Nashville is thrilled to be participating for the 5th  year in a row. Last year our organization received $10,000.00 in donations during this day of giving.

In its six-year history, The Big Payback has helped Middle Tennessee’s nonprofit community raise $16.6 million dollars for more than 1000 nonprofits, religious institutions, and schools. The spirit of generosity shines bright during this annual giving event.

How does The Big Payback work? Kicking off at 6 pm on Wednesday, May 5th,  donors can donate online to The Big Payback participants located in or providing services to the 40 counties of Middle Tennessee. Your contributions to Achilles International-Nashville could be amplified by additional incentives, bonuses, and prizes made possible by The Big Payback sponsors throughout the day. If you are going to give, this IS the day to do so!

For more information, please visit and thank you in advance for considering donating to Achilles International-Nashville on this day of opportunity!

Tips for Guiding Athletes

Guide Bridgette Guiding Eddie

Achilles guides serve as the athlete’s eyes, ears, guide, motivator, and most importantly…trusted running partner!  Guides help to welcome Achilles athletes to the wonderful world of running, by promoting friendship, encouraging the athlete, helping them build self-confidence with running activities, & having fun!

When you ask a guide how they feel about guiding they generally always respond that they get back much more than they give.

Things to ask your athlete prior to guiding

Achilles athletes have a wide range of disabilities. It is critical that guides and athletes have good, open communication. When you are assigned to an Achilles athlete, don’t be afraid to ask the following:

  • Have you been exercising/walking/running? What is your exercise experience?
  • What specific challenge(s) do you have related to running, walking, cycling?
  • Do you use any special equipment? If so, what equipment or adaptations do you use? (ex. tethers, quad canes, braces, crutches, prostheses, wheelchair, handcycle)
  • What do I need to know about your equipment and how to best help you?
  • What are your goals and how can we best help you meet these?

What you will do as a guide

Guide Bib

As an Achilles guide, you might do the following:

  • Help an athlete with a disability become familiar and proficient with any special equipment if needed (e.g., using a tether, using a handcycle)
  • Participate in training workouts with the athlete; consistency helps.
  • Provide companionship and positive feedback.
  • Provide guidance and running advice during workouts and/or races if you are comfortable and knowledgeable doing so; generally this is left to the team coaches.
  • Help with race-day or day before logistics (e.g. packet pick-up, attaching timing chips).
  • Participate in the race alongside the athlete with whom you’ve been training
  • Carry the snacks or nutrition for the athlete during a run.
  • Get water/ Gatorade at water stops as needed.
  • Provide encouragement and positive feedback. Your job is to ensure that he/she has a positive experience.
  • If your athlete becomes tired, encourage him/her to walk or take a short break.
  • Provide course navigation.

If anything else is needed or requested, bring it to the attention of your chapter leaders. (Note: Guides for travel races might have more responsibility, and these will be clearly outlined before trips).

Running with a visually impaired athlete 

  • Run beside your athlete. If you are in front, even slightly, the athlete can trip on your feet.
  • We will give you a tether, which is simply a shoestring with a loop on either end. Hold onto the loop with your hand. Do not tie it around your, or your athlete’s, wrist, which could be dangerous if either of you fell.
  • In the beginning, have your athlete hold your elbow, or hold the tether closely to your athlete’s hand. As you get more comfortable with your athlete, you may loosen up, allowing more distance between you.
  • Give an estimated distance to the top or bottom of a hill, bridge, curb, etc.
  • Otherwise, just look at the landscape, and tell your athlete what you see! Bridges, trees, golfers, other runners, bikers, creek, sunset, etc.
  • Offer key directional verbal support such as:
    • “Gentle right/left” to indicate a gentle curve in the path
    • “90 degrees” or “sharp left/right”
    • “Tighten up” tells the athlete to get close, and hold your elbow as you navigate a narrow or congested passage (bridges, runners coming towards you)
    • “Stop” when guide and athlete need to stop quickly (dog/car/obstacle darts in front of path)

Click here for more information on running with a visually impaired athlete

Running with a wheelchair or handcycle athlete

  • A flag at standing eye level height is required.
  • Safety helmets must be worn by Achilles athletes on wheels.
  • Pushrim wheelchair and handcycle athletes are generally fast, especially on the downhill. They will likely get ahead of you. You can catch up on the inclines.
  • Some races do allow guides on bicycles on the course.  Contact the race director at least 6 weeks prior to the event to inquire…never assume!

Sarah Hart Hometown Hero

Headshot of Sarah Hart

Sarah Hart is the founder of a local non-profit chapter of Achilles International. Achilles partners athletes with and with out disabilities so that all can enjoy the sport of running and participating in running activities and events. Sarah started the Nashville chapter about 6 and a half years ago when she recognized a need in the community for athletes with disabilities. She is the sole reason our Nashville chapter exists today.  Without Sarah’s dedication and her vision, we would not be able to offer this great opportunity to those in the Middle Tennessee area. Sarah began this journey by gathering a group of folks together from various non-profits, running clubs and healthcare companies.  After sharing her idea for a Nashville chapter of Achilles International with the group, she realized there was, indeed, a need for such a service here.  She began to advertise this new opportunity to The National Wheelcats (an adaptive sports organization), the Tennessee School for the Blind, the Tennessee Association of Blind Athletes, the Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital recreation therapy department, various orthotic and prosthetic companies and many more.  By the time our first practice rolled around in April of 2012, she had garnered support from many individuals in the community.  The first practice had one athlete with a disability.

Since then, our chapter has continued to grow thanks to the strong foundation and efforts put forth by Sarah, members of our Board of Directors, volunteer guides and other athletes. It is now one of the largest Achilles chapters in the world. Sarah also coordinated our first ever Hope and Possibility (Achilles signature race)1 Miler and 5 Miler in the spring of 2013. We are about to have our 5th annual run in October. This race brings together approximately 650 runners of all abilities and volunteers.

Sarah has such a passion for helping those with disabilities reach their potential, and she inspires all of us daily.  She is truly a hero to all of us here in Middle Tennessee.

Half Marathon Training 2019

Spring Training Plans:

Under Construction...Coming Soon!
Past Training Plans:

Achilles St Jude’s Rock & Roll Half Marathon 2019

Achilles Fall 2018 Half Marathon Training Plan

Spring Half Marathon Training Plan 2018

Spring Half Marathon Training Plan 2017

Fall Half Marathon Training Plan 2017

The Peter Pressman Award

The Peter Pressman award ornament

Most everyone in our Achille Nashville Chapter knew Peter Pressman or at least has heard about Peter from those of us here at Achilles or from the running community. Peter was one of the original founders of Achilles, helping to shape the club into the organization it is today. He was with Achilles since the beginning and his fingerprint is on everything we do today! He was an active guide, board member, cheerleader and supporter of all. He exemplified the mission of Achilles, a place for everybody, regardless of pace, age, distance, or ability. He believed in everyone and made everyone believe they were the most special person in the world…in fact, when you were in his presence you were. 

We would like to recognize as the recipient of the first Peter Pressman Guide of the Year Award to Ginger Roelle. Ginger has guided most every athlete here at Achilles. She does so week after week, time after time, walk or run, short or long distance, she gives her all to each and every athlete. Ginger always has a positive and encouraging word for the athletes and the other guides as well. She is a role model of a guide, with her consistency in attendance, her flexibility, her willingness to go over and above…Ginger, we are so fortunate to have you. You exemplify the spirit of the Finish Upright and With a Smile slogan of Peter’s….

Ginger and Theresa