Georgia Golden Olympics | Warner Robins GA

Georgia Golden Olympics
Warner Robins GA

This past week I went down to Warner Robins GA to the Georgia Golden Olympics games to participate in the 1500 meter race walk in hopes of qualifying for the National Senior Games in Minneapolis MN in July 2015.

The Georgia Golden Olympics are held every year in September down in the middle Georgia city of Warner Robins, home of Robins Airbase.

This year those who participate and come in at the top four positions qualify for the National Senior Games which are only held every other year. 2014 is the qualifying year at the state level for the 2015 National Senior Games.

We only spend Thursday PM and left Friday PM but did get to see several events.

On Thursday our first stop was the Warner Robins Senior Activity Center where we registered and saw the list of people who would be competing in my event on Friday. We got a T-shirt and other items in a welcome package.

Next we headed over to Robins High School’s McConnell-Talbert Stadium on nearby S. Davis Drive where a lot of the Track and Field events were being held.

Track and Fields Events

We spent some time watching the high jump where both male and female contests had a friendly but competitive match. It amazed me how high they were jumping.  I saw more than a few ace bandages and ice packs.

High Jumpers at Georgia Golden Olympics

I got to check out the impressive track where I would be race walking the next day.

On Friday morning I got up early and was one of the first ones to arrive at the stadium for Jim Norvill’s race walking seminar.

Jim Norvill Race Walk Clinc

I stayed to watch and photograph the 5K race walk. There were about 11 contestants ranging from seasoned veterans to a new comer or two.

5K Race Walk – Georgia Golden Olympics

These race walkers really put a lot in to the contest which is about 3.1 miles or little over 12 times around the track. Several of the same race walkers would be coming back at 1pm for the 1500 meter race walk that I had signed up for.

Race Walkers pass by Judge Jim Norvill

I stopped by the Senior Activity Center again to check things out and met Ms. Vicki Pilgrim who was directing these games and doing an excellent job keeping track of so many things going on with the events and people.

After picking up my wife Mary Ann, checking out of the Hampton Inn on Watson Blvd and getting a bite to eat,  we headed over to the stadium to watch the 100 meter dash. I ran in to a fellow I had met back in Alpharetta training at the Old Milton High School.  He is 80 years old and had won the 50 meter dash the day before and I watched him win the gold in the 100 meter race too.  He did it faster than I could have and I am only a baby at age 68. He’s the gentleman at the top right in while shirt in the photo below.

100 Meters Race at Georgia Senior Games

Mary Ann’s brother Mike and wife Diane were nice enough to come watch me compete at 1pm in the 1500 race walk. I was uncertain as to how it would be going since I had only been race walking for two months and had hurt my hip a week before.  I did good and came in second in my age group winning the silver and qualifying myself for the National Senior Games. I think I may just make the trip to Minnesota for the National’s next year.

Robert Fowler Silver Medal 1500M Race Walk

While getting my medal engraved back at the senior activity center I stood in line with other medal winners and we shared our excitement and stories.  One lady (pictured below) had won several medals in shot put, discuss, race walking and others and is also planning on going to the nationals.

Medal winner Georgia Golden Olympics


“Others won medals in swimming, cycling, golf, pickleball, basketball, table tennis and horseshoes.”

We made the ride back to Atlanta tired but happy that I had won a medal. I would have loved to stay longer and participated in and viewed more of the competitions. Maybe next year I will stay two nights instead of one.

The registration is not open yet for the Nationals but when they do open this Fall, I will be planning my trip. This will be a great incentive for me to continue my race walking hobby and really improve my technique,  speed and endurance.  I plan to enter the 1500 meters and the 5K race walks. They are on two consecutive days so that will work out fine.

I have been to Minneapolis before to attend a conference but my wife never has been there. Attending the Nationals will be a good excuse to have a vacation getaway for us.

For more information on the National’s, visit their web site at National Senior Games Association.  For more information on Race Walking, visit Jim Norvill’s excellent site

Boomers Participate in Senior Games

1500M medal winners all categories

Originally posted 2014-09-21 22:33:55.

USATF 5K Masters Racewalk Championship

Driving 10 hours to Race Walk 3.2 Miles
Racewalking Champsionship

This weekend I will drive 5 hours from Atlanta to Kingsport TN on Friday, get up the next morning and walk 3.1 miles and then drive back home. About 60 other walkers from around the country will join me, making similar trips often from further distances, just to walk 3.1 miles.

We are making the trip to compete in the USATF 5K Masters Racewalk Championship. There is expected be to about 60 competitors age 30 and up in this event which will take most of us boomers and seniors a little over one half hour to complete.

Kingport TN has hosted this event for the last 21 years. This is where the best Masters race walkers in the country come to try to set a record, either the national record or their own personal best record.  The national record books show 10 of the 11 age division records for the American Masters 5km Race Walk Road Records were set in Kingsport, TN.

This is not a big track meet like the National Senior Games I attended in St Paul MN earlier this year. The only event is the 5k race walk championship.  The women race walk at 9:30am this Saturday morning, followed by the men’s race at 8:30am.  Masters age groups for Male and Females are: 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80-84, 85-89.

The course is simply an asphalt road in front of the Americourt Hotel which has been surveyed and measured and marked for a 1K loop. You racewalk down the road, circle the cones and back for the 1K loop. You do this loop five times to get the 5k distance. How hard can that be, right?

Well race walkers have to have the correct form. There will be minimum of six to a maximum of nine Judges including the Chief Judge along the course looking at your form and cautions will be given. Each Judge shall use a yellow paddle for signaling cautions. On the third caution, the race walker will be shown a red paddle, disqualified and removed from the race. This happens to even to the best race walkers.

Definition of Race Walking. Race Walking is a progression of steps so taken that the walker makes contact with the ground so that no visible (to the human eye) loss of contact occurs. The advancing leg must be straightened (i.e., not bent at the knee) from the moment of first contact with the ground until the leg is in the vertical upright position.
On a personal note, I will be competing in the men’s age 65-69 division. My goals are:

– set a personal best time
– use the correct racewalking form and not get disqualified
– do not get injured

Competitions like this give race walkers the payoff and motivation for their hard training. You feel good when your competition is over, a feeling of accomplishment. It is always nice to meet other race walkers and get to know and admire their dedication to this sport.

One smart thing about the completions are they are judged by age divisions so you can see how you stack up against some of the best in your age bracket and also gives you a chance to compete on a level playing field.

Many race walkers started by just walking on their own.  For many, walking with a group like I did at our senior center is a path to race walking. Others who take up race walking may be runners who no longer want the wear and tear on their joints but still want the exercise and competition.

For baby boomers and seniors, race walking is a great sport. For more information on race walking, see

Robert Fowler

Originally posted 2015-09-28 09:24:08.