American Heroes Take On Detroit Marathon

By: Aaron B. Cohen | October 10, 2022

If you’re seeking motivation, seek out those who participate in marathons. If you’re looking for inspiration, you ought to meet the Achilles Freedom Team. They participate in marathons too. But their journey to the finish line is one that defies the odds and celebrates the tenacity of the human spirit…

Founded in 2004, the Achilles Freedom Team – a program within the greater Achilles International organization, was designed for wounded, ill, or injured members of the U.S. military. Through community support, physical training, and specialized adaptive devices such as hand-crank wheelchairs, the Achilles Freedom Team helps to rebuild the lives of soldiers who made unimaginable sacrifices for our freedom.

Following life-changing injuries, many soldiers struggle to grapple with the new challenges of day-to-day life. At first, many cannot even imagine the possibility of competing in athletic events ever again, let alone marathons. But the Achilles Freedom Team is on a mission to empower. Before soldiers even leave the hospital, Achilles team members arrive at Walter Reed to comfort and inspire recently-wounded soldiers and inform them of the possibilities that lie ahead. Those who accept the challenge can testify to the transformative nature of Achilles’ work.

This weekend, the Achilles Freedom Team arrives in Detroit to take on the annual Detroit Marathon. And they will not be without support. The Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers, in partnership with the GM Military Appreciation Program, plans to roll out the red carpet for these American heroes. They will be treated to a special team dinner at the Ren Cen, travel via GM shuttles, and enjoy a hot breakfast and massages post-marathon.

Whether you're going out on a fishing trip, discovering new hiking spots, or heading out for a weekend of camping, the Trailblazer is an ideal companion for your active lifestyle.

“It is such an honor to give back to the men and women who sacrificed so much for us,” said John Fox, President of MDCD. “We just wrapped up our Haulin’ for Heroes donation drive to support local hospitalized veterans, and now we are thrilled to roll out the red carpet for the Achilles Freedom Team. We look forward to this weekend all year, and we do everything possible to make their visit to Detroit an extraordinary one.”

The race serves not only as a testament to the bravery and resiliency of our veterans but a reminder of the importance of organizations that support our troops after they leave active duty. 

Andrew Hairston, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, is one of 26 team members competing in this weekend’s race. This will be his first Detroit Marathon. “Racing with Achilles really showed me that despite my injuries, anything is possible if I work hard and believe that I can do it,” Hairston said. “I feel very grateful for the Achilles Freedom Team for giving me back a piece of myself that I thought I had lost.”

You can show your support by cheering the Freedom Team along at this weekend’s race or by visiting their website.