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Wheelchairs take center stage at Sunday rally

Date Posted: 2011-12-09

Dozens of wheelchair-bound individuals will be zipping along the streets near the Okinawa Convention Center in Ginowan City Sunday, all heading for the 23rd annual Ginowan Wheelchair Marathon Rally.

An event that is not only fun for the participants, the rally is staged to increase awareness and understanding about people with disabilities, and to demonstrate how those who are disabled are still filled with hope and courage as they live within the Okinawa community.

The marathon begins at 10 a.m. Sunday, but police will begin closing off the area around the Okinawa Convention Center earlier, with the road closed from 9 a.m. to noon. Organizers say the events will take place rain-or-shine.

Participants in wheelchairs will compete in three different marathon courses: A half marathon, 5km marathon and 1.5km marathon.

The 5km and 1.5km marathons will take place within Ginowan Kaihin Park near the Convention Center, while the half marathon will be on roads in the Ginowan area. The marathon starts from Kankaimon Gate on the Ginowan bypass, turning at Nirai bridge in Chatan, then running to another turn point at Makiminato Driving School, with the goal of finishing at Kankaimon Gate where it all began.

Officials ask the public to pay close attention to road signs and regulations on race day, and to cheer on competitors in wheelchairs wherever you see them.

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