The 12th annual Cedartown Wheelchair Athlete 5K race was held Thursday in Cedartown and hometown hero Krige Schabort stole the spotlight.
Schabort, who was instrumental in getting the race to come to Cedartown in the first place, easily won the 12th annual race as he breezed to the finish line in the Men’s Open division unchallenged.
No times were available at the conclusion of the race, as a couple organizers had to leave the event site to try and put together all the places and times.
Richard Colemon took second place in the Men’s Open while Josh George was third.
In the Men’s Master’s Division, Jeff Fisher won first place, Kenny Herriot took second and Verne Achenbach was third.
Brian Kirklan was the winner of the Men’s Quad race.
In the Women’s race, Amanda McGrory pulled out a narrow victory over last year’s winner Tatyana McFadden. McFadden, according to race organizers, is actually up to win an ESPY award from ESPN this season.
Diane Roy finished in third place in the Women’s race.
Schabort continues to be impressed by Cedartown and the support the racers get.
Having moved to Cedartown from South Africa over a decade ago, he and his wife, Caron, have since had three children and become United States citizens.
“Many years ago, Buck Lanford [a news reporter with Fox 5 Atlanta] told me that Cedartown is the Mecca of wheelchair-racing athletes,” said Schabort. “It still is, thanks to a great community and fantastic sponsors. We are very grateful for the support, without which we could not have hosted this world-class event these past 12 years.”
The popular race, which showcases wheelchair athletes from around the world and prepares them for the upcoming Fourth of July Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, is due a lot to Schabort, a South African native now living in Cedartown.
Schabort represented South Africa at the 1992 Barcelona Paralympics where he won a bronze medal in the marathon. He then moved to Cedartown in 1997 and subsequently won numerous international marathons and 10K events.
In 1999, he received The Presidential Sports Award from South African President Thabo Mbeki. He has had several good races at the Boston Marathon, including finishing as runner-up in 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2010.
Among his other accomplishments is a silver medal he won in the marathon at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.
He was nominated several years ago for an ESPY award.