CEDARTOWN -- The wet weather held off just long enough Sunday evening in Polk County for racers from across the globe to take part in an annual road race held just ahead of Atlanta's Peachtree Road Race.
And right after this year's winner Daniel Romanchuk was crowned with a Laurel and awarded a homemade bowl, the official, racers and crowd scattered from sudden heavy rain.
Romanchuk, an 18-year-old Maryland native who is training with other wheelchair athletes at the University of Illinois at the Champaign-Urbana campus, came in with a finishing time of 10:31.55 just yards ahead of local favorite and long time racer, 53-year-old Krige Schabort. He finished at 10:37.22.
"It's always great to push with someone like Krige," said Romanchuk in a brief post race interview. "He's someone that's had a lot of experience in the sport. It's always a great time to push with someone like him."
It was Romanchuk's first time in Cedartown, where he came to appreciate the course's flats, hills and turns along neighborhood streets before returning to the finish line in front of Peek Park on College Street.
"It's a great place, lot of great people in here," he said. "They put on an excellent race."
Romanchuk said the race was a good way to judge how he thought he would perform at the Peachtree Road race, and that he was hoping to see where "I can make a few improvements a few days before Peachtree."
As he was coming up the hill on the final leg of the race, he said all he could think about was the final sprint to the finish line.
"I used up all that I had left in me," he said.
Romanchuk was awarded $400 as well for the win, and others participating and finishing high in their particular rankings were also given cash prizes. The only female racer this year, Aerelle Jones, finished at 16:54.64.
Due to the threat of wet weather and only one woman competitor in this year's race out of a much smaller field of only 21 competitors, the race kicked off right after a kid's fun run, and fished up before the actual 7:30 p.m. start time expected for the event.
Organizers also pushed back the event to Sunday after originally having planned it for June 29 to accommodate racers wanting to participate. The race, now in its 18th year, also took off in 2016 as wheelchair racers prepared for the Special Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro late last summer.