Inspirational athletes competing in 2017 Cooper River Bridge Run wheelchair division

James Senbeta, 30, finished first in the Wheelchair Division in the 2016 Cooper River Bridge Run with a time of 25:31. (Provided)

Feeling a little unmotivated? Let these people serve as some inspiration.

Sixteen elite racers will compete in the Wheelchair Division for the 40th Cooper River Bridge Run.

Here’s a look at some of the top contenders, and their stories.

Krige Schabort (Rome, GA)

Race officials believe that Krige Schabort has come back this year to reclaim and possibly beat his Cooper River Bridge Run course record of 23:48 set in 2009.

Schabort, 53, was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. In 1987, Schabort lost both his legs during a military skirmish in Angola.

This devastating incident changed his life forever. Doctor's said it was a miracle he survived.

"I got a second chance in life,” Schabort says. Soon after he lost his legs, Schabort found his passion in wheelchair racing, and transformed tragedy into victory.

His first pro tour was in 1991, traveling for six months in Europe to race.

In 1997, Schabort and his family relocated to the USA where his wife, Caron, works as an occupational therapist.

Schabort raced professionally for 27 years and now developing his new company, Able Sport. Now, Schabort shares his story whenever the opportunity arises, in hopes his extraordinary life experience will serve as a motivation to many people.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Six-time Paralympian … Two-time Paralympics' medalist … Four-time World Champion … Two-time Kona Ironman winner … Four-time Los Angeles Marathon winner … Two-time New York City Marathon winner … Nine-time Honolulu Marathon winner; Six-time Peachtree 10K winner … 2007 ESPY Award Nominee … 2015 ESPY Award Winner

James Senbeta, (Champaign, IL)

Senbeta, 30, finished first in the Wheelchair Division in the 2016 Cooper River Bridge Run with a time of 25:31. He has raced competitively since 2012

Senbeta holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural and biological engineering from the University of Illinois.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: 2016 Paralympics - 800m, 5000m, Marathon … University of Illinois Wheelchair Track and Road Racing Team Member … Placed 5th in the 2016 Boston Marathon (1:26.24) … Competed in the 2016 London Marathon (1:35:24) … Two-time Falmouth Road Race Winner (2014, 2015) … Bloomsday Run Winner (2016) … Ridgewood Run Winner (2016) … Carlsbad 5000 Winner (2016) … Beach to Beacon Winner (2015)

Donovan McBride (Waterloo, IL)

McBride, 15, suffers from spina bifida. For the past three years, he has been racing in his Xcalibur racing wheelchair.

McBride’s favorite competitions are on the street. He has completed countless 5K's, 10K's, He’s also competed in a duathlon, a couple half-marathon's, a marathon, and been part of a triathlon relay team.

McBride’s goals for 2017 are to compete in road races around the United States, and to improve his technique and speed. Donovan hopes to compete at the 2020 Boston Marathon & U.S. Paralympics in Tokyo.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Team member, Disabled Athlete Sports Association, competed at Junior Nationals, member of local run group Road Warriors … Member of the Waterloo High School track team, 2016 IHSA State Record holder for the boy's 800m … 2015 & 2016 U.S. Paralympic Committee All-American High School Athlete … 2017 Disabled Sports USA E-Team member

Here's a look at the full roster of Wheelchair Division racers:


Krige Schabort — Rome, GA

James Senbeta — Champaign, IL

Hermin Garic — Utica, NY

Jose Pulido — Clarkesville, GA

Matthew Porterfield — Knoxville, TN

Richard Agee — Brooks, KY

Brad Smith — Atlanta, GA


Matt Davis — Bowling Green, KY

Peter Hawkins — Malveme, NY

Rafael Ibarra — Atlanta, GA

Ulyssess Elijah — Decatur, GA


Bryan Kirkland — Leeds, AL

Chris Holcomb — Cedartown, GA

Duane Morrow — Hoschton, GA

Mike Savicki — Cornelius, NC


Donovan McBride — Waterloo, IL

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