28th annual PTC Classic attracts able and disabled world class athletes alike

Thu, 10/02/2008 - 8:55am
By: The Citizen

Fresh off his win at the Akron Marathon in Ohio on September 27th, Birhanu Wukaw of Ethiopia is looking forward to extending his winning streak at the Peachtree City Classic 15K race on Saturday, Oct. 18. Birhanu ran a 2:23:12 to defeat his next closest competitor by over three minutes. His teammate on the Foot Solutions Elite Racing Team, Sergey Kaledin from Russia, was the Men’s Masters winner and fourth overall in a time of 2:32:40. These two elite racers will be toeing the line when the gun signals the start of the first of three races come Oct. 18.

Also competing from closer to home are two metro Atlantans who may be disabled but are still world class athletes. Scott Rigsby of Sandy Springs is used to overcoming major obstacles. At age 18, he was thrown from a truck while working a summer job and dragged over 380 feet under a 3 ton trailer. After losing his right leg, Rigsby endured over 26 surgeries in 10 years before finally deciding to “free” himself from being a professional patient and remove his left leg. Rigsby spent years fighting his personal demons before making the commitment that if God opened a door for him, he would go through it. He busted through those doors on his way to making history, setting three world records for a below-the-knee double amputee within 18 months (Full Marathon, Half-Ironman, and International Olympic distance triathlon). Prior to all this, Scott had no formal swim training, no bike training and had not run more than a mile on his prosthetics.

On Oct. 13, 2007, after enduring the elements for 16 hours and 43 minutes, Scott Rigsby became the first double amputee in the world to finish an Ironman distance triathlon with prosthetics at the 140.6-mile World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Rigsby used “swim legs” to navigate the difficult 2.4 mile ocean swim, “bike legs” to cycle 112 miles through the heat and gusting winds of the Big Island lava fields on a standard road bike, and “run legs” to complete the marathon segment in darkness and intense pain. As a result of his accomplishments, Scott was awarded Competitor Magazine’s 2007 Physically Challenged Athlete of the Year and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons 2007 Patient of Courage.

Kelly Luckett, a resident of Grant Park, is a 40-year-old below-knee amputee as the result of a lawn mower accident that occurred just before her second birthday. She started running in March 2003 and has completed over 60 races from 5Ks to ultra marathons (50K). She has 10 marathons (including four times at Boston) and two ultra marathons to her credit as well as numerous other races at various distances. On April 21, 2008, Kelly ran her 4th consecutive Boston Marathon and extended her record of being the only female runner with multiple Boston finishes on a prosthetic leg. Jeff Galloway says of her, “I have not coached an athlete with a stronger spirit.”

These athletes are among the hundreds who will participate in one of three races that make up the 28th annual Peachtree City Classic. The 15K Open will start at promptly 8:30 a.m. followed by the Women’s 5K at 8:40 a.m. and the Men’s 5K at 8:50 a.m.

The Classic is always a sell-out, so get your applications in soon to assure your spot in the RRCA 15K Regional Championship Race or the 5K events. All races will start and finish at the Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater in Peachtree City. The 5K races are each limited to the first 800 applicants, and the 15K Regional Championship is limited to the first 1,500. There are still a few spaces left in each event.

Applications are available at various locations in Peachtree City, Newnan, and Fayetteville, including local recreation departments, libraries, and sporting goods stores. Applications are also available at some of the sponsors of our race, including Chick-fil-A, Ultimate Fitness, Talbot State Bank, Wyndham Peachtree Conference Center, FC&A, and Publix. You can also register online at www.ptcrc.com. If you have any further questions about the race, you can send an e-mail to ptcclassic@bellsouth.net.

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