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Balega Partners with Achilles International to Help Disabled Athletes Run the TCS New York City Marathon

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Tera Hurff

Digital Campaign Specialist at Malakye.com

With a commitment to service and a desire to give back, Balega International, a leader in performance running socks, is proud to partner with Achilles International to help disabled athletes compete in the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon.

Achilles International is a non-profit foundation that supports individuals with all types of disabilities who attain personal achievement and conquer physical limitations through participation in mainstream running events. Balega will be providing financial and product support to the Achilles International runners who will participate in the NYC Marathon on Sunday, November 6.

Community is a central pillar of Balega’s code of corporate social responsibility, and the performance sock brand proudly gives back to its South African community by supporting the Ethembeni School, a South African school for physically disabled and visually impaired learners.

Ethembeni School has a rich history with athletics and particularly running as the school sits directly on the course of the famed Comrades ultramarathon in South Africa. The school is actively involved with Achilles, which offers an opportunity for Ethembeni students to weave athletics into their education. Through the Ethembeni School, Balega built a relationship with Achilles International that became the foundation for their marathon partnership.

Since 1983, Achilles International has been pairing volunteers with disabled athletes to help them run, walk, cycle or swim. Founded in New York City, Achilles provides training, encouragement, technical expertise, logistical support and race entry fees to individuals who otherwise would not be able to compete in such rewarding experiences. The nonprofit has expanded to over 60 countries with 40 chapters in the United States alone. In 2000, Achilles International created its South African branch in recognition of the Ethembeni School.

“Through our long-standing involvement and partnership with the Ethembeni School, teaming up with the Achilles Foundation was a natural fit for Balega,” stated Tanya Pictor, Vice President of Marketing at Implus Specialty Retail Brands. “What a privilege to be in a position to see the other side of this magnificent race, where true grit and grace comes to play. We are so honored to support the Achilles Foundation.”

Strongly rooted in South African traditions, Balega brings the Ubuntu spirit to the world. Ubuntu originated in Africa and roughly translates to mean “human kindness.” The term, popularized by Nelson Mandela, translates to, “I am a person through other people,” meaning only by banding together as a community and working together can we truly call ourselves human. This year, Runner's World editor Bart Yasso will be running hand-in-hand with Godfrey Shumana Bongumusa, a blind student from the Ethembeni school, bringing to life the idea of Ubuntu.

“Balega is a very generous company with a social conscience and Achilles is delighted to have their support in the Athletes With Disabilities Reunion Area of the NYC Marathon,” stated Eleanor Cox-Nihill, Director, Chapter Development of Achilles International. “We look forward to steeping our athletes in the extra attention they will receive this year post-marathon!”

On race day, Achilles International will have a display tent at the Athletes with Disabilities Family Reunion Area (AWDFR) on West 72nd Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue for athletes and their families. Balega will give away custom printed, African inspired, bead patterned neck gaiters for warmth and comfort along with handwarmers from Yaktrax. Trigger Point will provide a rolling station where you can foam roll to relax your muscles. Mizuno generously donated apparel and shoes in support of this unique community.

To learn more about Balega and the Ethembeni School, please visit the Balega website: https://balega.com/our-sole.

About Balega International?

A leading performance sock brand in the run specialty market, Balega is a designer and manufacturer of technical performance socks and part of the Implus family of brands. With a proud American-South African initiative, the company develops its product in both South Africa and North Carolina production facilities utilizing the best performance yarns produced in the United States. Crafted for a superior fit and unmatched comfort, Balega is committed to the technical excellence, quality, and performance expected in the Balega brand. A brand with ‘sole,’ Balega prides itself on its commitment to the community with projects aimed at enriching those less fortunate than ourselves. For more information, visit www.balega.com.

About Implus

Headquartered in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, Implus LLC has evolved to become an innovative provider of footwear, outdoor and fitness accessories to its retail partners. Implus’ family of brands includes Sof Sole, Yaktrax, apara, Airplus, Sneaker Balls, Sof Comfort, Little Hotties, Perfect, TriggerPoint, ICETrekkers, FuelBelt, Harbinger and Balega. From insoles, socks and shoe care to seasonal accessories and fitness solutions, Implus proudly distributes its brands to thousands of retail locations across the United States and worldwide. For more information, visit www.implus.com.

About Achilles Foundation

Achilles International is a worldwide organization that encourages people with disabilities to participate in running with the general public. Individuals who had difficulty negotiating the distance between street lights wind up competing in marathons. Achilles provides training, encouragement, technical expertise, logistical support, and race entry fees. Achilles athletes have all kinds of disabilities including paralysis, visual impairment, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, amputations, and traumatic brain injuries. Runners participate with crutches, tethers for the blind, in wheelchairs, on artificial limbs and without aides. Dick Traum, the first amputee to run a marathon, founded Achilles in 1983. From its beginning in New York City, Achilles has expanded throughout the United States and internationally.

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