History of Achilles International (Flagship Chapter )

  • In 1976, Dick Traum became the first above-the-knee amputee to complete the New York City Marathon.
  • In 1977, Runner’s World magazine published an article about Dick, inspiring Terry Fox, a young Canadian man with cancer and subsequently an amputated limb, to run across the country, raising funds and awareness for cancer research.
  • In 1983, Dick Traum founded the Achilles Track Club. 6 Achilles athletes completed the New York City Marathon.
  • In 1974, the Vermont chapter was founded, the first chapter outside of New York.
  • In 1985, the first Achilles International chapter was formed in New Zealand.
  • In 1995, Achilles’ Kids was founded, and implemented the first Virtual Marathon around New York.
  • In 2003, Achilles hosted the first Hope & Possibility® 5 Mile Run, giving awards to both able-bodied runners and athletes participating in disability categories. The event was named after Trisha Meili’s book. Trisha is a past Achilles Board Chair, and author of I Am the Central Park Jogger, A Story of Hope and Possibility.
  • In 2004, Achilles founder Dick Traum visited the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and recruited the first Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans. The program adapted to the specific needs of wounded members of the U.S. Military, improving physical strength, building confidence, and generating a supportive community. Program participants receive training as well as use of specialized adaptive devices, such as hand-crank wheelchairs. Later in 2004, 34 wounded veterans traveled to New York City and participated in the Hope & Possibility® 5 Mile Run.
  • In 2006, the first Hope & Possibility® race outside of New York took place in Minneapolis, MN, founding ‘Skills for Positive Change’, a program designed for people living with diabetes.
  • In 2007, Achilles International celebrated 25 years of participation in the NYC Marathon.
  • In 2010, Prince Harry of Wales, Cindy and Megan McCain, and Heather Mills join over 5,000 participants in New York City’s 8th Annual Achilles Hope & Possibility®.
  • There are now more than 30 active chapters across the US, and over 50 chapter around the world (www.AchillesInternational.org).