Karen Heads Up Achilles Team In Dunedin FL

Karen Heads Up Achilles Team In Dunedin FL

DUNEDIN, FL – The beaches of Dunedin have a new team in town. They are called the Achilles International Ocean Sports Team.
This unique competitive team can be seen paddling the shores of Honeymoon Island State Park, and is proving to be an inspiration to all.

 

Achilles International is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics in order to promote personal achievement, enhance self-esteem, and lower barriers to living a fulfilling life. Originally founded by Dick Traum, the first amputee to compete in the New York City Marathon, Achilles has been inspiring challenged athletes since the early 1980’s. In 2009, Achilles developed a competitive paddling program at their headquarters in NYC. The Achilles International Ocean Sports Team in Florida was founded in 2014, and has settled in Dunedin. The Florida team is the first expansion of the paddling program since its inception.

 

The Achilles Ocean Sports Team Florida is led by coach and YOLO Board team rider, Karen Mirlenbrink, and assisted by several qualified guides. Each athlete paddles in the front of an adapted double kayak, and receives coaching from their team mate (their guide). The team, made up of adult athletes of a variety of different physical disabilities from MS to paralysis, trains every weekend in preparation for different paddling races. Their goal this month is the Shark Bite Challenge, which is held on their home turf at Honeymoon Island on April 11. “They will be paddling in the 4-mile challenge at the Shark Bite,” says Coach Karen. “They are training hard to go the distance and show how strong they really are.” The Florida Chapter will compete against the New York City Chapter, as well as the rest of the paddlers in the field at their first team race.

 

“It is absolutely incredible what these athletes can do”, coach Karen adds. “I am inspired beyond words at every single practice. This opportunity provides the athletes a sense of purpose and gives them the confidence they need to live a long and fulfilling life.” In the future, Karen plans to add outrigger canoeing and paddleboarding to their skill set.
Achilles’ original programs, chapter workouts and races, have grown over the years to include participation in athletic events throughout the world. Although all of Achilles programs focus on athletics, the truth is, sports are simply the tool for accomplishing their main objective: to bring hope, inspiration and the joys of achievement to all people with disabilities. Achilles provides all of its experiences and practices to its athletes free of charge. With the ever growing costs of adapted paddling equipment and race fees, Achilles Ocean Sports is seeking donations and sponsorship. If you would like to support this incredible team of athletes, follow this link: http://www.gofund.me/achillesoceansportsFL