To celebrate National Volunteer Week we wanted to highlight some of the amazing volunteers that support Achilles NZ as guides to the various disable athletes to participate in events such as Queenstown Marathon.
Randal Barr has been a guide with Achilles for about a year now and is a part of the Hamilton chapter. This year Randal has supported visually impaired athletes Steven Donnelly for the Rotorua marathon, and Shannon Cleave for the Hamilton half marathon.
Randal Barr loves seeing the improvements Achilles athletes make as they train towards their goals.
Picking up running three years ago to improve his health, Randal joined Achilles as a guide after reading about Achilles athlete Shannon Cleave in the local paper. “I thought, if I’m going to be doing all this training I might as well run with someone I can help at the same time.”
Running as guide requires a lot of trust and building a relationship with the athlete is really important. Achilles work closely with athletes and guides to ensure they’re matched in fitness, ability and pace so it’s a rewarding experience for both. Whether running or walking, there are athletes of all levels that require support.
In addition to the weekly social Achilles training sessions, which are a great chance to catch up with other members, an athlete/guide team work together on any extra training required to suit an event they’re preparing for. Such as the Queenstown marathon.
As a guide for Achilles volunteer, you help a disabled athlete to achieve a goal and the sense of achievement you get by crossing the finish line together is indescribable.
To find out more about Achilles and how you could support either as a guide or to donate to this charity group, visit https://www.achillesnewzealand.org/