International wheelchair athletes spend the week in Georgia

We’re only a day away from the 21st Cedartown Wheelchair 5K Road Race, which draws athletes from around the world to compete on what’s known as "the fastest 5K course in the world."

And this morning on Good Day Atlanta, we got a first look at this year’s impressive lineup of athletes — and what it takes to prepare for the intense experience.

The history of the race and associated training camp stretches back to 2000, when paralympic medalist Krige Schabort, local pastor Dave Grove, and community leaders created the event as a way to give wheelchair athletes another place to practice and compete, specifically ahead of the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta. It’s since grown into a beloved tradition in Cedartown, drawing big crowds to cheer on racers from countries including Mexico, China, Ukraine, South Africa, and Ghana. 

During our race coverage last year — which marked the 20th race — Schabort told FOX 5 Atlanta that he’s incredibly proud of the way the race has been embraced by both athletes and supporters. 

"If a race is successful like this, you need a good team," Schabort said. "And I can only thank the folks of Cedartown, the sponsors…Shepherd Center and the athletes that come from far to support."

Schabort also told us the training camp and road race are unique in that very few races solely feature wheelchair athletes.

Fans are welcome to come watch and cheer on the racers at the 5K on Tuesday; it’s happening at 6 p.m. at Peek Forest Park (607 N. College St. in Cedartown). For more information on the event, click here.

This year’s training camp began on Sunday and continues through Wednesday, and athletes are staying at Rome’s Darlington School. That’s where we spent the morning — click the video player in this article to check it out!