Scenes from Homewood Fall Fest 2015


International competitors, from left, Clifton Culpepper,
Emma McGowan, Lee Bridges and Jay Williams are
members of the eXplosion Track and Walking Club 
meeting at Homewood-Flossmoor High School.

(Photo by Marilyn Thomas/HF Chronicle)

Hooray for our winners!

Two members of eXplosion Track and Walking Club based at Homewood-Flossmoor High School brought home medals from the World Masters Athletic Outdoor Championships in Lyon, France.

Lee Bridges of Homewood took first place winning gold medals in the 400-meters and the 4X400 meters relay, and third place to take the bronze award in the 200-meters in the male 45- to 49-year-old bracket.

This was Bridges second time competing in France. He represented the United States 25 years ago in collegiate competition when he was a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“I just wanted to get that experience again, knowing a lot more this time,” he said. 

Bridges said competition was stiff, but he was three meters ahead of the competition in the 4X400 meters race, “which was more than I expected,” and other races were split-second victories on the clock.

Bridges started training for the World Masters Championships in 2011. He runs three days a week at H-F, outdoors in good weather and indoors at the H-F sports and recreation center. His training regimen will get him in shape for the 2018 World Masters Competition in Spain.  

The second eXplosion club winner, Emma McGowan, 46, of Hanover Park, had an outstanding competition in the women’s 45-49 age group. She brought home first place gold medals in the 100-meters, and 4X100-meters relay, and three second place silver awards for the 200-meters, 400-meters and 4X400-meters relay.

McGowan, a native of France, has been running since she was 12. When she was 33, she quit running to start her family. She took up the sport again in 2012. This meet was her first world championship, but she has competed in national championships taking various awards, including a gold in the 200-meters and silver in the 600-meters in 2014.

She took U.S. citizenship several years ago and competed for the United States at the Lyon competition. Her twin sister is still in France and was there to cheer her on, and some in the crowd confused them, although her sister doesn’t run competitively.

Two other eXplosion club members also competed in Lyon. Jay Williams of Homewood competed in the hurdles and made it through the first round, but pulled a groin muscle and couldn’t continue. Clifton Culpepper ran the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dash but did not place.

Bridges encourages runners and walkers who want to get back into track and field sports to join eXplosion members at H-F. Visit the club’s website at http://www.explosiontrack.weebly.com.

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