By Ben Kaplan
On March 17, Achilles Canada Celebrates the Life of Achilles Founder Dick Traum.
Runners worldwide have come together this week to mourn the passing of Dick Traum, founder of the Achilles Track Club of New York City and an advocate for athletes with disability. His tireless work—renowned worldwide from his 1976 appearance at the New York Marathon, as their first amputee athlete—impacted our sport, opened doors and inspired countless lives.
“Dick was a legend, a hero and leader with an acute determination to advocate and expand the podium worldwide for Achilles athletes with disabilities competing alongside all others within the marathon domain of competition,” says Brian McLean, founding volunteer president of Achilles Canada and race director of the St. Patrick’s Day Run, March 17 in Toronto. “Dick was a lifelong friend, mentor and second father to me and throughout our years together meeting monthly to review, educate, inspire and promote the sport of running to be enjoyed and attainable by all, regardless of one’s limitations or physical or mental challenges.”
Mr. McLean, who’s run Achilles Canada since 1999 and will be presenting a tribute to Mr. Traum at his March event, says he’s not the only Canadian to be inspired by Dick’s legacy.
Terry Fox was also influenced by this one of a kind man.
“Terry was in the hospital when he read a magazine story about Dick completing the NYC Marathon, inspiring Terry to do his Marathon of Hope,” Brian told iRun. “Dick was an inspiration for many—myself, our chapter, and our own Canadian hero, Terry Fox.”
The St. Patrick’s Day Run, beginning this year at the Evergreen Brick Works on Bayview Avenue and running along a scenic new route on the Bayview Extension and Rosedale Valley Road, is a highlight for many Canadian runners, including most of the staff at iRun (we especially like the post-race beer). The fundraiser, culminating in a great party and always a jovial fundraiser for Achilles Canada—a pioneering Canadian force for dignity and equality—promises to be an event for all runners not to miss.
“We look forward to celebrating Dick, this remarkable human being, and supporting his legacy with as many participants, volunteers and supporters as possible on event day,” says McLean. “On behalf of all Achilles members across Canada, we are forever grateful for your pioneering devotion, Dick—for bringing the Achilles family together and awakening the spirit of hope and possibility in us all.”
To register to run or volunteer at the 2024 Toronto St. Patrick’s Day Run, please click here.