By Amanda Kwong
Being only our 2nd year in operation in Melbourne, 2017 packed a punch with running events, saw our club grow throughout the year, and friendships, old and new solidified with our Sydney and Canberra sister clubs. Let's take a look back at the joys brought to us by 2017 with Achilles Melbourne...
Still recovering from post-Christmas and New Years feasts, we kicked off the year, officially engaging with our first parkrun at Highlands parkrun, Craigieburn. Parkruns have been integral to engaging guides who live close to our Achilles athletes.
Our first events went underway for 2017 with Francois and Kevin, guided by a team of Adrienne, Tanya, Nat and Amelia at the Sunset Series in both the 4k and 8k events. We also participated in our first regional event, the Wangaratta Marathon and running festival, with Adam completing his first marathon event for 2017, guided by Martin, and Simon shaved minutes off his previous 21k time with guide, Lara.
Parkrun participation was increasing rapidly with participants as far as Balyang Sanctuary (Geelong) joining our ranks. While we didn't have many events we were participating in, this month was massive for our personal awards cabinet. Nominated for a VicSport award, Achilles Melbourne was awarded the VicHealth Outdoor/Active Recreation Initiative of the Year. Francois and Amanda also made an appearance at the Art Centre's Fun Run event, where Francois was interviewed about his running "career" to date.
The month our 2017 event calendar started to ramp up, with Run for the Kids and the Great Train Race. We had a healthy team of participants for both events across varying distances, and some media appearances by Adam and Tanya in the Herald Sun ahead of Run for the Kids and Adam and Tim appearing on the evening news for the coverage of the Puffing Billy Great Train Race.
An exciting annual event, the Melbourne Coastrek was tackled by two of our keen-bean members, Ness and Peggy, guided by Sami and Jacinta. These girls had perfect weather conditions to tackle their 30km walk along the picturesque Mornington Peninsula.
Our events continued with Stadium Stomp at the MCG with some of our vertically fit ladies taking on the full and half courses. Most were first timers for this event, but Brooke, who also featured in an ABC radio interview, tackled the full course with guide, Sarah - both also appearing on the news. The media exposure didn't stop there, with Maddy having a special write-up in her local Numurkah times paper about her stomp participation. We also held our first major fundraising event for the year, our inaugural Bunnings BBQ, raising just over $600 for the day.
Crunch time for most for the year. We had our first athlete participating in an interstate event: Adam, completed his second marathon in a shave over 3 hours, 30 minutes at the Gold Coast Marathon. He was tailed by guide, Tim, with complete faith in a first-time guide, and previous GC Marathon winner. We also had a record number of Achilles athletes participating in the 2017 edition of Sole Motive's Run Melbourne across half marathon, 10k, and 6k distances.
Our second fundraising activity for the year - our inaugural trivia night, and boy was it a successful night! Our Achilles community came together over a night of laughs, wit and useless information. We also started a special bond with nokkon, who assisted us with boosting our pool of guides.
One of our highlights of the year, the Sydney Running Festival. We joined forces with Achilles Sydney and Canberra to create the ultimate sea of yellow to run together across the harbour bridge. We had entrants across all events, including first timers Haylee and Christine in the 3.5k bridge run, through to veteran marathon runner, Simon, completing his yearly marathon with Sydney guide Wayne.
This month saw us turning our sights to one of the biggest events on the Melbourne running calendar: the Melbourne Marathon. We had several teams over all distances again, with Andrew participating in his first ever fun run with guides Lucy and Michael.
We also held our second AGM and thanked outgoing Secretary Julie, Treasurer Jacinta and Volunteer coordinator Francois to welcome in new Treasurers Nat and Maddy, Secretary Ness, and Volunteer Coordinator Peggy.
This was crazy event month! We packed in one event for every weekend in November: The New York marathon, with Adam, guided by Tim and Nigel, and Francois, guided by Adrienne, Tanya and Tammy completed the holy grail of all marathons. We also ran in City2Sea, the Eureka Climb, AND entered two teams into the Sri Chinmoy Tan marathon relay. How's that for a busy month!! To top it all off, we even managed to squeeze in a bush hike at Sherbrooke Forest into this month as well!
We finally made it to the end of the year, but we weren't slowing down at all. We kick started the month with the Carman Women's Fun Run in dubious weather conditions that should have been the storm of the century. We were also visited by Flex Sports Physiotherapy who ran a series of workshops to help our athletes improve their running technique and running weeks in preparation for another big 2018 year.
What an exciting jam-packed year 2017 was. On behalf of all the committee and members at Achilles Melbourne, thank you everyone for volunteering, guiding, being enthusiastic every Sunday morning, and helping this club grow in our second year running!
Our November winner was nominated for her wonderful and infectious enthusiasm at the Saturday park runs and at our regular Sunday training. Now that is a lot of energy for early mornings on a weekend. Congratulations go to Nat Blair this November! Here is why she was nominated!
'Nat put in the mammoth task of organising our hiking trip to Sherbrooke. She visited the course prior to our visit to check it out before we came along. On the day, she coordinated guides and made sure we were all ok. She even drove us up the hill in about 4 or 5 car trips so we didn’t have walk on the road (safety first).'
Thank you Nat for all your hard work, not only with guiding but for all your support behind the scenes organising extra-curricular activities for us all!
(Pictured below: Nat in Hobart for the Point to Pub run, bringing Achilles to Tasmania.)
Our mission is to enable people from all walks of life, including those with physical impairments, to enjoy the health giving benefits of walking and running in a supportive, social and encouraging environment.