OCC specifically for wheelchair and mobility device users

Rolling Inspiration
By Rolling Inspiration
4 Min Read

The Outeniqua Chair Challenge (OCC) is only three weeks away! In the run up to the event, we spoke to Shaun Butler, OCC Chairperson, to learn more about this much anticipated event which is specifically designed for people who use wheelchairs or mobility devices.


ROLLING INSPIRATION (RI): What was the motivation behind starting the OCC? What has it come to mean for the community?

Shaun Butler (SB): The race was started in the early 2000s by Esther Watson, a therapist here in George. She saw what the community needed to empower persons with physical disabilities, and what it would mean to them. The race started out with a mere 20 to 30 competitors, and grew into a spectacular event of nearly 500-plus participants yearly.


RI: Why should people enter? What do you hope they will take away from the event?

SB: Entering the race is not just because it’s “another race”. This event is specifically for persons using wheelchairs or mobility devices – a one of a kind in South Africa at the moment. The race inspired me to become more active and showed me that being differently abled is not the end of ones hopes and dreams.

You just have to find a different way to chase those dreams. I was inspired at my first OCC back in 2015, a year after my spinal cord injury (SCI), by Pieter du Preez to take up hand cycling as a sport. I personally hope that the race inspires more individuals to participate and find their path to chase their fitness goals.


RI: I understand the OCC is celebrating 20 years, what do you hope the future will look like for the OCC?

SB: The OCC is in its 20th year of existence, and with the support of the local municipality and many private donors, we hope to continue its legacy to grow for many years to come. There has been talks of not just hosting it as a cycling event, but turning it into a sports festival to showcase more sporting types and expose the general community and all its participants to all the disability sports available to them.


RI: As a racer yourself, will you be competing this year?

SB: Yes, I will be participating in my 8th OCC this year, but only in the 21.1 km category as I changed my sporting career about 18 months ago into wheelchair body building where I have excelled to represent South Africa on an international stage in Spain November 2023.

I will continuously support the OCC as it’s the reason I started my fitness career after my SCI in April 2014. It lies close to my heart as I see so many participants return yearly for their go at the podium.

The OCC continuously needs financial support and it is not possible to host the race without these role players. We hope to see many more new faces on the race course this year, especially on the 42.2 km and 21.1 km routes as it’s a chance for every racer to rub shoulders with the top racers in the country.


Click here to enter the OCC. Entries close Friday, 2 February 2024.

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