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Cigna Supports 100 Achilles Athletes To Take Part In Wellington Round The Bays 2019

The largest group yet of Achilles athletes are set to take part in the 2019 Brendon Foot Supersite Round the Bays (RTB) this weekend, with around 100 members travelling from across the country.

Achilles, Cigna’s official charity, provides New Zealanders with disabilities the opportunity to participate alongside able-bodied athletes in local events, such as RTB.

Cigna New Zealand Chief Marketing Officer, Vince Warnock says; “Achilles really embodies our passion about health and wellbeing, and supporting our communities by encouraging everyone to get out and get active - and the size of this year’s Achilles group really speaks volumes.

“We are proud to support Achilles and its mission to show that anyone can take part and stay active, no matter what your personal challenges may be.”

Achilles athletes come from a variety of backgrounds and corners of the country, and get involved for any number of reasons.

This year is the first time for Michelle Holland, who is heading up from Christchurch and competing in the 21km, the longest she will have ever run.

“My tactic is to think of it as 4x five kilometre runs, with a bonus one kilometre at the end, I’m hoping that will work!”

Michelle had a successful cochlear implant in March 2013 after gradually losing her hearing, then becoming completely deaf.

She joined Achilles in February 2018 and within a few short months she went from walking to jogging. Her biggest goal is to motivate people to get off the couch and participate in things like this – no matter their ability.

“I’m really keen to spread the message that you don’t have to be an athlete already who is ready to run, it’s okay to walk. It’s about starting from zero and making your way through.”

Achilles has continued to grow, with its member base increasing from 253 to 377 athletes throughout New Zealand in 2017, and two new chapters being established in Tauranga and Invercargill.

Allan Smith, Chair of Achilles New Zealand, says; “Cigna’s support has helped us increase our presence throughout New Zealand and support our growing member base.

“This year we are looking forward to enabling more people with a disability to be able to join Achilles where they live, and to have a better spread of our chapters throughout New Zealand. To make it easier to take part.

“In the coming months we will open chapters in Dunedin and Whangarei to respond to the number of requests from Athletes and guides alike.

For more information on Achilles and what you can do to get involved visit www.achillesnewzealand.org