Wheelchair race preparations moving ahead
Volunteers getting ready to host athletes from around the world at 2018 event
The beginning of July is fast approaching for race organizers in Cedartown who are getting ready to host athletes from across the globe for the latest installment of the Cedartown International Wheelchair 5K Road Race.
First Presbyterian pastor and race organizer Dave Grove said the committee continues their hard work up until the final minutes before athletes get underway on July 5 at 7 p.m.
“We’re looking pretty strong,” Grove said. “We’ll have a lot of international flavor in Cedartown.
The race course, which mainly stays on College Street, will be closed starting at 6:30 p.m. that evening to ensure the course remains clear of traffic, but also to keep from blocking off roadways for too long for the evening race.
He said athletes from Central and South America are joining those from across the United States for the 2018 race.
“Unfortunately we don’t have the European or Asian athletes coming this year,” he said. “We do have a strong contingent coming from Central America – Mexico, Costa Rica, and Ecuador – along with our racers .”
Sponsors who help make the race happen each year include the City of Cedartown and the Polk County Community Foundation, both making large contributions of time and money to help ensure the race goes off without a hitch each year. Grove said a racer this year from Duluth is also chipping in to help, and that many lower level sponsors also help each year.
“We’re doing well with sponsorships and with volunteers,” he said.
He also added that 11Alive out of Atlanta has also been a great supporter of the race over the years.
Grove said to keep an eye out for flags from across the globe to begin going up in the weeks ahead, and to keep an eye out for racers starting in July as they prepare for the event.
“This is my 19th year being involved with this, and it started out as just a small thing, educate people about wheelchair racers and people who are disabled in general and maybe do something nice for a couple of athletes,” he said. “No we’re world renown, everyone knows about us. We’ve got a lot of athletes who couldn’t come this year but sent their apologies.”
He added that much of the impact of the race has been Polk County’s growing awareness of people who are not really disabled, but just “physically challenged.”
“They aren’t disabled, they are aren’t able to do everything we can,” Grove said. “Yet they rise to those challenges all the time.”