JUNE 1, 2015, WASHINGTON (NNS) – From a small town in Illinois to the Nation’s capital, Tunde Ridley has come a long way in his career in the fitness world.
Ridley achieved world-class track athlete status soon after graduating college and now manages Navy fitness programs for 113 fitness facilities at Navy shore installations world-wide.
Ridley grew up in Carlinville, Illinois. His high school athletic accomplishments led him to be on the receiving end as collegiate athlete through the National Collegiate Athletic Association. As a senior, he was the second only student in the state of Illinois to win four events at the state track and field competition and set a Class-A state record for the long jump. He scored enough points to help his high school win the state track meet. “This was a very big deal for us,” said Ridley.
Ridley attended a class at The University of Illinois on a full athletic scholarship that helped him decide his career path with a degree in leisure and recreation studies. Under the mentorship of a college professor who introduced him to the military’s Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) programs, Ridley pursued a master’s degree in Recreation Management and then headed for California.
While in San Diego, Ridley applied for an MWR position and was accepted as the fitness and sports director for Naval Support Activity (NSA) Monterey. This later led to his next job as the director of the Child Development Center at Naval Air Station North Island.
“I really enjoyed working at NSA Monterey, running a small fitness center helped me to learn all the work that goes into that effort,” said Ridley.
Having made fitness a priority over the years, Ridley enjoys setting the example for others. His enthusiasm and commitment to staying competitive has paid off. He has won several first place awards in the Master’s USA Track and Field Indoor National Championships. Ridley has also spent personal time helping others with personal fitness.
Currently, he is the defending world champion in the 100m and 200m Master’s (M35) Outdoor World Track & Field Champion. In August this year he will compete in the Master’s World Championship in Lyon, France. World championships in track and field on any level typically occur every other year and are set up similar to the Olympics with almost every nation sending a representative.