Cedartown Wheelchair Training Camp & 5K starts Monday

Friday, June 28, 2024–9:45 a.m.

-David Crowder, WRGA News-

Between 45 and 50 wheelchair athletes from all over the world will be in Northwest Georgia on Monday and Tuesday for the Cedartown Wheelchair Athlete Training Camp and 5K.

On Monday, the athletes will be training at Darlington School, according to Tori Adamson, media liaison for the event. This is the second year the athletes will be staying at Darlington.

“This has been a great way to keep everyone together and there is really great training on the roads as well as the track at Darlington,” she said. “This year, we are really excited because we are going to have a miniature track meet on Monday, July 1 at around 8 p.m. It’s not going to be for any kind of prizes or anything like that. No one is trying to get qualifying time for the Paralympics, but it’s just an opportunity for everybody to get a little more training in and a little more competition.”

As part of the track meet, the athletes will test their endurance by going around the track for as long as they can. The last one on the track will be the winner.  

The main event, the Cedartown Wheelchair Athlete 5K will be on Tuesday, July 2 at around 6 p.m. in front of Peek Park in Cedartown, and will feature athletes from the United States, Spain, The Netherlands, Mexico, Belgium, South Africa, The United Kingdom, Australia, Ghana, Nigeria, Ukraine, and Costa Rica. There will be a Kids Fun Run right before the wheelchair race begins. It’s free and participants will receive a prize from Chick-fil-A.

Following the wheelchair race, there will be an awards ceremony for not only the event but also the newly established Hall of Fame.

“We all vote on an athlete who we think should be in the Hall of Fame as well as a community member, “Adamson said. “It could be someone who has been involved with the camp for many years, maybe since its inception, but it is someone who has had an impact on the race and the community as a whole. That’s really exciting to have that Hall of Fame presentation for the second year.”

Known as the world’s fastest wheelchair 5K, the event began in 1999.

“Our own hometown hero Krige Schabort, who is originally from South Africa, and a friend of his, Franz Nietlispach, were training in Cedartown. It was before the Peachtree Road Race, so it’s a great way to get acclimatized or get used to the heat and humidity that we have here. So, they decided to come up with an event.”

The race has grown since those beginnings and is now part of a triple crown along with the 10K Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, and a 15K race in Utica, New York.

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