GEORGE NEWS - The 18th run of the Outeniqua Chair Challenge on Saturday 15 February once again showed that when inclusivity and the indomitable human spirit meet, the magic that we call Ubuntu happens.
From the start of the 42,2km race shortly after 07:00 and the 21,1km fifteen minutes later, until the last people left the venue at Carpe Diem School, George was abuzz with athletes, sponsors, volunteers and spectators.
Officially, 714 athletes from across South Africa as well as Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Ghana participated in the four different distances.
In the men's race, Stuart McCreedie (1:08:20), Ernst van Dyk (1:39:05), and Pieter du Preez (1:45:10) won their respective categories in the 42,2km, as did Thandiwe Ndhlovu (2:00:43), Delia Lubbe (2:20:19), and Ayishetu Seidu (2:37:59) in the women's event.
In the 21,1km race, the men's category winners were George local Shaun Butler (47:54) and Ghanaian Raphael Botsyo (56:08). The women's category winner was Stella Joncwe (1:29:12).
The category winners in the 10km race were Rubin Afrika, Amahle Kani, Antonio Jobe, Ronaldo Mantsana, Mayenzeke Guiga and Hanno van Jaarsveld.
The category winners in the women's 10km race were Martelize Brink, Elizabeth Booysen and Khulani Kaba.
A total of R147 000 was paid out in prize money to the winners.
An event of this nature could never happen without the sponsors; and the organisers would again like to express their sincere appreciation to all those involved.
The George Municipality and the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport continued their long-standing financial support. The municipality also provided invaluable infrastructure and logistical support, without which the event would not be possible.
Colorplast was another of the financial partners and exhibitors.
Media sponsors included Cape Town Magazine who donated a R50 000 contract as part of the Premier of the Western Cape Premier's Office Event Pitching Competition. AlgoaFM was once again the official broadcast sponsor and George Herald the official media sponsor.
Great Time provided the official time-keeping services.
In addition, various community organisations made invaluable contributions including the Lions, Rotary, QuadPara Association of the Western Cape (QAWC), Occupational Therapy Association of South Africa, Afrique Rehabilitation and Research Consultants NPC, South African National Aids Council Trust, APD, the South African Society of Physiotherapy, and the George Business Chamber.
Special mention must be made of Lancewood that has become an integral part of the Outeniqua Chair Challenge.
To illustrate just how much of a community event the OCC is, here are some additional statistics:
A total of 400 officials, marshals, traffic officers, route layout crew and registration staff; 250 volunteers gave of their time to push chairs and assist with other tasks; the OCC organising committee consists of over 50 members under the leadership of event director, Alewijn Dippenaar; and more than 15 service providers supply portable toilets, tents, food, medals, sound, stage and timekeeping.
Eleven water points were manned by 70 crew members. Eighty-five assisted with registration, at the race village and as marshals. Thirty-two businesses supported the event financially or with products and/or services. Six service organisations who work with people with disabilities were involved. Three thousand units of water were handed out.
Two thousand meals were served during supper on Friday and lunch on Saturday. Thousands of photographs were taken, and 21km of delineators were placed along the route.
And then it all had to be cleaned up and packed away so that the planning for next year's event can begin!
Event director Alewijn Dippenaar said that the organisers were "super-satisfied" and confirmed that the 19th OCC will take place on 19 and 20 February 2021, with Carpe Diem again the gracious host.
Until next year, happy cycling!
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