May 19, 2009
The annual Hermanus Wheels and Runners Race, the only race in South Africa where able-bodied runners and people with disabilities in wheelchairs compete together in different categories, took place on Saturday 9 May. The race, which attracted 180 athletes in 2007, and grew to 325 in 2008, attracted a record number of 513 athletes this year.
This race, that is sponsored by Checkers and organised by Access for Citizens Committee in association with Whalers Athletic club, offers people with disabilities in wheelchairs as well as able-bodied athletes and members of the public the opportunity to participate in the same race. The main aim of the event is to create greater awareness of the abilities of disabled people and their needs.
Athletes from as far afield as Durban, Boksburg, Pretoria, Richmond, Graaf Reinet, Beaufort West, Oudtshoorn, George and Mossel Bay joined the local athletes from the Overstrand, Cape Town and the Winelands to participate in the event. Mr Harold Taylor from Huis Lettie Theron in Hermanus was the oldest competitor having just celebrated his 89th birthday.
Hundreds of spectators lined the route and encouraged the competitors as they participated in the 21.1km, 10km and 5km races and relays. Though all events were thoroughly enjoyed by runners and wheelers alike, the races were extremely competitive and provided a few hair raising moments on some parts of the course with runners having to give way rapidly to speedy hand cycles, racing chairs and tricycles. The 4.3 km fun walk was enjoyed by over 150 competitors and helpers who enjoyed each others company while enjoying the scenic route with its beautiful views of the sea and mountains surrounding Hermanus.
The preliminary date for next year is 08 May 2010 and all the athletes promised to be back for the next challenge.
1,3 km race for athletes in wheelchairs: Ellias Stuurman from Graaff-Reinet.
5 km race for motorized chairs: Warrick Miles (men) from Somerset West , Ashelene Hunter (women) from Mitchell’s Plain
10 km for runners: Tsepo Shelembe (men) from Richmond, Mpume Mbele (women) from Richmond
10 km for athletes in wheelchairs: Samkelo Sosibo (men) from Richmond, Nomaindia Zenzile from Paarl (women)
21,1 km for Handcycles: Stuart Mc Creadie (men) from Hout Bay, Ina Rowles (women) from Pretoria (Both Stuart and Ina were also winners of this category in 2008)
21, 1 km for Racing chairs: Gerit Hendricks from Oudtshoorn (He also won this category in 2008)
21,1 km for Tricycles: Goldy Fuchs (men) from Kuils River , Madre Carinus (women) from Kuils River
21,1km for runners (open 20+): Alfred Tshabeni (men) from Hermanus, Amy Davids (women) from Stellenbosch
Visit the www.hermanusrace.co.za for more results and information