Sports organisation helps people with disabilities hit the pavement with able-bodied athletes

A group of runners are making grey skies a little brighter in the Bay of Plenty.

Achilles International allows athletes with disabilities to compete in mainstream events. Source: 1 NEWS

The runners are celebrating the opening of a new sporting chapter in Tauranga.

Achilles International NZ enables people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream running events with able-bodied athletes.

The organisation has branches in New Zealand's main centres, but the Tauranga chapter is the first regional club.

The number of runners and guides are expected to only grow larger as awareness of the organisation and its cause continues to spread.

University student and Achilles runner Karleigh Jones said the group has helped her with "connecting and socialising with others".

Organisers hope the startup will inspire others around the country to join in or open local chapters of their own.

"You don't know what you can accomplish until you set aside your doubts and give it a go," Ms Jones said.