Wheel­chair race prepa­ra­tions mov­ing ahead

Vol­un­teers get­ting ready to host ath­letes from around the world at 2018 event

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL SPORTS - By Kevin Myrick [email protected]­stan­dard­jour­nal.net

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.”

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