Achilles Nashville Chapter History

2012


  • On April 18th, 2012, Achilles International – Nashville Chapter hosted its Inaugural workout at the McCabe Park Community Center.
  • Theresa Khayyam became the first Achilles Nashville athlete to complete the Country Music Half Marathon. Due to a viral infection, she had become completely blind two years before, and told herself she wanted to run a half marathon on her 40th birthday. She completed the race with three Achilles Guides, a HUGE smile, and her family cheering her across the finish line.
  • Our weekly Wednesday night runs were quickly well-attended with an average of 10 athletes and 25-30 volunteers each week.
  • Achilles International brought us 3 new hand-cycles ($4,000 each) to be used by athletes in our chapter.
  • Other Races: Titans 5K (14), Mayors Challenge 5K (8), Boulevard Bolt (8).
  • Achilles International – Nashville Chapter received a restricted grant in the amount of $5000 from the James W. Pickle Foundation to help athletes with physical challenges purchase assistive medical devices (such as wheelchairs, orthotics, prosthesis, or braces). Austin Crymes, an athlete with Cerebral Palsy, received a Bioness electrostimulation device that helped him to walk without falling as a result of this generous grant. Meet Austin: https://youtu.be/IG3vTWojW4Y
  • Achilles International, in partnership with Cigna, sent one Achilles Nashville athlete and his family to Dallas, TX for the Mayors 5K.
  • Mayor Karl Dean, as part of his 2nd Annual Walk 100 Miles Challenge, walked with our chapter on December 19th, 2012. He then attended our 1st Annual Holiday Party at the McCabe Golf Course Clubhouse.
  • By year end, we had quickly become the second largest chapter in the nation behind New York City, with 48 registered athletes and 122 registered volunteers.
  • Video highlights of our first year: https://youtu.be/R7s6D-5SayQ

2013


  • In January, Achilles International, in partnership with Cigna, sent one athlete and a family member to the Disney Half Marathon.
  • In May, six Achilles athletes participated in the Music Row Fitness Crawl, sponsored by Results Fitness, Shakti Yoga, and Lulu Lemon, raising $2000 for our local chapter.
  • In July, 10 athletes participated in the Nashville Striders’ Firecracker 5000, with Achilles Nashville earning ~$500 as a beneficiary of the race.
  • In August, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean came to our Volunteer Guide Appreciation night, presenting Nashville Chapter leaders with Certificates of Recognition for dedicated service to Nashville’s Special Needs Athletes.
  • In September, we adopted a formal working Advisory Board, with Melanie Yappen as President.
  • In October, Joe Shaw became the first visually impaired man to compete in the Warrior Dash.
  • In November, four Achilles Nashville athletes and their guides completed to the New York City Marathon.
  • Athletes and guides attended the Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars football game.
  • We hosted our 2nd Annual Holiday Party with over 80 people in attendance.
  • Other Races: Tom King 3K/5K/Half Marathon (5), Country Music Mini/Half/Full Marathon (13), Titans 5K (9), Music City Triathalon (1), Franklin Classic (1), Women’s Half Marathon (2), Mayors 5K, Boulevard Bolt, and Snowflake 5K.
  • We created a Giving Matters profile, and received a Discretionary Grant from the Community Foundation in the amount of $4200.

2014


  • In January, Achilles International, in partnership with Cigna, sent one athlete and a family member to the Disney 5K.
  • In April, we partnered with ABLE Youth, and participated in the Country Music Marathon (1), Half Marathon (5) and 5K (10).
  • In May, Achilles International-Nashville Chapter hosted our 1st Annual Hope & Possibility® 5-Miler and 1-Miler at the Dominican Campus. Over 600 people attended, including Achilles International Founder Dick Traum, and Trisha Meili, author of I Am the Central Park Jogger, A Story of Hope and Possibility. Able-bodied athletes and athletes with disabilities competed side-by-side, celebrating the hope, possibility, determination, and accomplishment that we all share. Highlights: https://youtu.be/QEk10MU9Gh0
  • In early Fall, we added a Saturday run at the Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital.
  • In October, three visually impaired athletes dressed up as “Three Blind Mice” and ran the Octoberfest 5K.
  • We started our 1st Annual Halloween Run around the Richland West End Neighborhood.
  • In November, five Nashville athletes competed in the New York City Marathon.
  • Achilles International donated two additional hand-cycles to our local chapter’s athletes.
  • We purchased our first hand-cycle trainer.
  • With proceeds from our Hope & Possibility® event, and a very generous Memorial Foundation Grant ($20,000), we hired our first dedicated Executive Director, Carrie Redmon, to lead our chapter in 2015.
  • Other Races: Hot Chocolate 15K/5K, Tom King Half Marathon & 5K, Firecracker 5000, Franklin Classic, Women’s Half Marathon, Shelby Bottoms Boogie, Mayors 5K (10), Boulevard Bolt (4).
  • We celebrated our 3rd Annual Holiday Party with over 90 people in attendance.

2015


  • In January, Achilles International – Nashville Chapter and Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital co-hosted a showing of the documentary film Endless Abilities at the Scarritt-Bennett Center. This documentary follows four best friends as they drove across the country in search of adaptive sports for individuals with physical disabilities. From rehabilitation patients to Paralympic athletes, their cameras captured the reality of broken boundaries and common goals among all who are active. They went rock climbing with the blind, played soccer with quadriplegics, and swam with those with muscular dystrophy, to name a few. Through their journey, they learned that sports really are the great equalizer, unifying people of all abilities on a level playing field.
  • In March of 2015, the Young Lawyer’s Division of the Nashville Bar Association hosted their 12th Annual Race Judicata, with proceeds of ~18K benefiting both ABLE Youth and Achilles International – Nashville Chapter.
  • In April 2015, we welcomed 25 athletes and volunteer guides from the Achilles Philadelphia Chapter to our wonderful city of Nashville. We hosted a pre-race dinner at the Baker Donelson Building downtown. Then over 40 athletes and guides from Achilles Nashville, ABLE Youth, and Achilles Philadelphia competed in Nashville’s Country Music Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K.
  • In May 2015, we hosted our 2nd Hope & Possibility® 5-Miler and 1-Miler, with over 650 participants. Austin Crymes, a 21 year-old with cerebral palsy, completed his first 5-miler in 4 hours and 10 minutes. At his request, we played the Rocky theme song as he crossed the Finish Line. Highlights: https://youtu.be/QEk10MU9Gh0
  • Three athletes competed in the NYC Marathon, and one athlete competed in the Connecticut Half Marathon.
  • Other Races: Hot Chocolate 15K/5K, Firecracker 5000, Color Vibe, Shelby Bottom Boogie, the Mayors 5K, Boulevard Bolt, and Rudolph Run.
  • We purchased our 2nd handcycle trainer.
  • In December, we celebrated another great year with ~ 90 members of our Achilles’ Nashville family at our 3rd Annual Holiday Party.

2016


  • In January, Achilles International, in partnership with Cigna, sent 4 athletes and their guides to the Disney Half Marathon (3) and 5K (1). Cigna provided 2-day hopper passes for the group.
  • Other Races: Hot Chocolate 15K(2)/5K(4), Special Kids 15K (2)/5K(1), Purity Moosic Dairy Dash (1)
  • In March, ten athletes participated in Race Judicata, hosted by the Young Lawyer Division of the Nashville Bar Association. We were again a beneficiary, receiving a very generous $8,912.
  • Four athletes competed in the St. Jude Half Marathon, and seven participated in the 5K.
  • We purchased our first portable wheelchair racing training roller.
  • We hosted our 3rd Annual Hope & Possibility® at the Dominican Campus, again welcoming Trisha Meili, and celebrating the hope and possibility in our great Nashville. Highlights: https://youtu.be/l6lcCfogC28
  • Nine athletes participated in the Firecracker 5000, hosted by the Nashville Striders, again benefiting the Nashville Striders Youth Fund and Achilles International – Nashville Chapter.
  • In August, one athlete ran the Nashville Half Full Half Marathon, and a second athlete ran the 10K.
  • In October, one athlete and guide to traveled to compete in the Denver Half Marathon
  • In November, three athletes to traveled to compete in the Philadelphia Half Marathon and 8K
  • In November, six athletes traveled to compete in the New York City Marathon

2017


  • In January, one athlete traveled to Houston to compete in both the 5k and the Half Marathon (handcycle division)
  • In February, one wheelchair athlete competed in the Predator’s 5k
  • In February, one blind athlete traveled to Disney In Orlando to compete in the Princess Half Marathon
  • In April, Stephanie Zundel, accompanied by her guides, Harvey Freeman and Amy Harris will compete in the Boston Marathon
  • In April, Achilles athletes and guides will participate in the Race Judicata and the St Jude’s Rock and Roll