Cedartown resident places first in Ironman Kona Handcycle division

Thursday, October 14, 2010

by Ellison Langford, Rome News-Tribune

Wheeling across the finish line of the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii Saturday felt like “10 Christmases,” for Krige Schabort.

It was especially exhilarating for the Cedartown resident when it was confirmed he finished 136th out of 1,800 athletes, placing first in the handcycle division, and had beaten the previous handcycle record by more than an hour.

His time was 9 hours, 26 minutes and four seconds.

Schabort, originally from South Africa, is a bilateral above-the-knee amputee.

“I was ecstatic with my time,” Schabort said. “I knew it was possible, but I knew it was going to be very, very hard.”

Athletes must swim 2.4 miles, bicycle 112 miles and run 26.2 miles.

However, Schabort’s performs the bicycle portion in a handcycle and the running portion in a wheelchair.

“It’s definitely not a Mickey Mouse race,” Schabort said.

Schabort lost his legs while fighting for the South African army in 1987. He said his shins were blown off when a Russian bomb exploded next to him.

His rehab facility counseled him about methods of staying healthy after his injury, and Schabort said that’s how he started competing in marathons.

But it was a representative from one of his sponsors, Inva-care, who encouraged him to attempt the Ironman and promised to provide him with the best equipment.

And that is what Schabort thinks had a lot to do with his time.

“I think the reason is the previous record was set in 2002,” Schabort said. “And the equipment has improved so much since then.”

He thinks his accomplishment will help recently-injured people realize they can still achieve great things.

“It feels like a sense of anything is possible,” Schabort said. “If I can do it, anyone can do it.”

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