Nine-year-old Braxton Munkel recognized at annual Cedartown event

A new competitor joined the field for a special race all to himself at this year’s Cedartown Wheelchair 5K.

Last week, nine-year-old Braxton Munkel joined the pack of racers rolling down College Street on his specially-made wheelchair, but he didn’t participate in the full 5K.

This was only Braxton’s second race he’d participated in as an athlete, and third overall (he watched his first.)

“I had other sports that I tried, but they didn’t work out,” Braxton said. “Then my mom heard about this, and I figured that I would want to start wheelchair racing.”

The challenge for him as a new racer is learning to gain speed while going uphill.

“It’s hard to push because I’m not that big,” he said.

He wants to race more, and got a chance to show off his talents in a shortened version of the course while the Women’s Open was underway.

Braxton rolled out to Mundy’s Lake down College Street and back again, followed along on his return trip by longtime wheelchair racer and local Krige Schabort.

He might have not had competition, but Braxton got to show off how much the sport is all about the spirit of good sportsmanship after he settled down from his run.

A racer in the Men’s Open found his chair suddenly with a busted part, and Braxton lent his to the older competitor to get him back out on the course.

Braxton is still learning much about the sports – he’s not got all the technical details of his chair figured out just yet, for instance – but he’s happy to get to compete wherever the Alpharetta native can.

He hopes to come back next year with his mom Kelli and dad Brett to watch and participate, which will be likely.

For taking part in the race, Braxton received his own engraved bowl as a trophy, handmade and given out to winners each year. His was a smaller version of what the older competitors get for when they win.

But Dave Grove said it best when he called Braxton forward and recognized him for participating: the young racer is the future of the sport.