Runner Profiles by Bob Slowpants


Elaine Dixon - Her Zip Code is a Decimal

Elaine was born in Jonesboro, GA, best known as the home of “Gone with the Wind”.  Jonesboro is also the largest town where Elaine has lived!  Born the middle child of an older brother and younger sister, Elaine played all sports with her older brother and friends.  Her passion was music, and she started piano lessons at age seven.  Elaine played basketball in junior high and clarinet in the Jonesboro High School marching band.  After graduation in 1979, Elaine worked full time at South Fulton Medical Center in East Point, GA and attended classes at Clayton State University.  Elaine has worked on the financial side of healthcare for thirty-eight years and is currently with Navicent Health Baldwin.  Elaine is a Revenue Cycle Director responsible for pre-services, registration, business office, coding and health information management.  Quite a load if you have ever entered a hospital!

Elaine played softball on various teams for the next fifteen years or so after college in and around Clayton and Fulton Counties until the much younger teammates started bringing out the oxygen tanks when Elaine would run the bases.  Elaine and husband Jeff attend the Voice of Truth church in nearby Irwinton, GA (2010 census population 650).  Elaine has played piano at several churches over the years, she teaches Sunday School for seven-year age group and currently sings and plays with the Praise Team at the Voice of Trust in Irwinton, GA. 

She met her husband Jeff in 2002 riding bicycles across Georgia and began to spend time together other than over the handle bars!  They reside in McIntyre, Ga (2010 census 650) on land that has been in the Dixon family for over fifty-five years.  Elaine and Jeff now have three children and sixteen grandchildren. Like most old people, they stay busy watching the grandchildren participate in their favorite hobbies. When not running or playing with grandchildren, Elaine enjoys group singing, playing the piano, and gardening.

A late bloomer, Elaine started running at age fifty-three with her first race being the Banana Pudding Festival in Irwinton, GA.  She later ran Madison in May on the advice of friends and begin to follow her exploits in the Run and See Georgia Grand Prix, Black Bag Race Series, and Clover Glove Series.  Her favorite races are the Ocmulgee Indian Mounds Scare 5K and any event at Rock Eagle.  Elaine just completed her second Half Marathon in Athens this October.  Elaine reflects that she has “met the greatest people and loves running through Georgia with this group”.  She “hopes to run until she is 93.” Her mother has recently made a quilt of Elaine’s running t-shirts that Elaine considers a keepsake.  At age 93, that will be a lot more quilts forthcoming!

 Bob checking out from the back of the pack. Look for the profile of John Hale and the profile of Kelli Selman.


Randy Booth - Started His Engine

Randy was born in Nicholson, GA to who he describes as “the greatest parents in the world”.  The third offspring after an older brother and sister, Randy was raised on a chicken farm and was active in sports, hunting, and feeding chickens!  Randy admits he “hates running” when queried about his favorite races. However, at Jackson County High he ran track for three straight years in the high hurdles, triple jump, and long jump events.  Randy claims to be a sprinter but not a long-distance runner.  Bob Slowpants doubts this since Randy caught his wife Veronica Doster.

Randy attended the University of Georgia for three quarters and dropped out.  The next year he again attended for three quarters before entering the work force.  Randy met Veronica at the Athens plant of Swedish/Swiss multinational ABB Group (now Powerpartners) where she trained Randy on coil winding. Randy initially attempted to wind Veronica up with his brother, but she was more partial to Randy. Randy dabbled in softball in High School and afterwards for a total of ten years before suffering a severely broken ankle in a game that sidelined him from work for eight months.  After six operations Randy returned to ABB and was promptly laid off.  Randy found work striping parking lots with a friend and kept in touch with Veronica.  Like most young men, Randy was into cars!  He knew Veronica was a straight shift and not an automatic so he keep his goal in sight.

In 1993 carefree Randy started work at the Southeast Toyota distribution Center in Commerce, GA waxing cars to earn spending money for a fishing trip to Arkansas.  Twenty-five years later Randy is the Operations Manager for the two hundred employee facility.  The facility is owned by the JM Family, which owns three vehicle Toyota distribution facilities in the southeast and has associates working across the nation.  Randy speaks glowingly of his employer, who was recently named among the one hundred best companies to work for by Fortune magazine.  The Commerce location services the southeast.  Previously unknown to me, JM Family is the twentieth largest privately held US company and servicing  178 Toyota dealers in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina by providing their inventory of new Toyotas and nationwide with financing and inventory control services.

When not running and posting photos of restaurants on Facebook, Randy and Veronica have established a rental and rehab housing side business.  They currently rent seven homes that they have improved, have sold three, and have three that are a work in progress.  Randy and Veronica attempt to complete as much of the renovation of a property themselves as they can, not only to increase the profit and value but because they enjoy doing so.  They title the entity Misty Pawperties.  The name was derived from their mutual love of the Husky breed of dogs and their deceased Husky, Misty.  She was the CDO (chief dog officer) and checked on the progress and approved the purchase of any new pawperties.  At one time they had eight huskies and are now down to two, one of which is blind.  Randy and Veronica have one acre fenced back yard behind their home they call “Husky Hill”.  The back of the home has a doggie entrance that makes the huskies welcome.          

    After limping around Commerce on his bad ankle for years, Veronica persuaded Randy to participate in the 2015 Power Run in Athens that was being held in memory of a friend of Veronica’s.  Randy observed, “Veronica did really good and I finished.”  Together they completed twenty races that year and have increased that number each year after 2015.  Randy likes the fast course of the Athens Spartan 5K, and any race that supports first responders, and of course dogs. 

Bob checking out from the back of the pack.  Watch for the profiles of Elaine Dixson and John Hale.      


Rosie Barber - Running is in Her DNA

Rosie was born at Commerce BJC Hospital in Commerce, GA in 1967.  She was the youngest of three-older brother James and sister Judy.  Her father ran a successful small engine repair and mechanic business, as Rosie remembers he was always busy.  The business proceeds funded his hobby of flying.  He purchased several airplanes while earning his pilot’s single, multi-engine, commercial, instrument, and instructor’s license.  His expertise was recognized by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) who retained his services, and he developed a side enterprise as an instrument instructor. Flying became his fate, as he died in 2018 in an airplane crash due to engine failure.       

Rosie’s education after Jackson County High School progressed to earning a degree in Research Laboratory Technology from Athens College in 1988.  She was employed after graduation and moving to Hull, GA with Noramco (Johnson and Johnson) and later the USDA where she worked for seventeen years.  Five years ago, Rosie married that handsome stud Doug Barber and moved to Nicholson, GA.  Her expertise in molecular biology led to her current position with the University of Georgia as the lab supervisor in the Mycoplasma Diagnostic lab, a division of the UGA Poultry Diagnostic and Research Lab.  In language Colonel Sanders and Bob Slowpants can understand, Rosie preforms DNA testing on chickens for chicken diseases.  Considering the economic significance of the poultry industry in Georgia, Rosie can tell farmers and producers why their chicken is sick, but not who the chicken’s baby Daddy is!    

Rosie recalls a “time …where she weighed two hundred and fifty pounds”.  A gym program and treadmill miles helped Rosie lose one hundred and fifteen pounds. She knew that she had to continue an exercise regimen to maintain and continue to lose weight and included signing up for a 5K race as part of her program in 2012.  Her first race was the Tanger’s Outlet Fit To Run 5K.  Rosie and husband Doug began running a 5K a month.  In July 2017, they began to participate weekly in the Black Bag Series and learned about the Clover Glove Series and the Run and See Georgia Grand Prix.  Rosie is currently first in her age group in the Black Bag Series, second in Clover Glove, and second in Run and See Georgia Grand Prix.  She is currently training for the Atlanta Half marathon in October.

When not running Rosie enjoys crocheting and is learning to sew.  Doug has yet to model any of Rosie’s projects at weekend races.  Religion is an important ingredient in Rosie’s life.  She currently serves on the Altar team at her church and leads a small bible study group at Southside Church.  She describes her early life without elaboration as “a lot of hard times filled with hurt and pain”.  Rosie incorporates running in her spiritual life, and finds that the resulting “self-control, self-discipline, endurance…help her deal with life”.  She says she “looks at hills as battles with hurt and pain, but once we get over them, relief comes”.  When she finishes, she sees victory in her life and the race”. 

Bob checking out from the back of the pack.  Look for the on prolific selfie poster Randy Booth, and the  profile of Elaine Dixon.      


Derek Jesweak - If You Want to get Stoned, Derek will sell you the ROCKS

Derek is one half of the former brother and sister running duo of Jesweaks.  Sister Marie’s profile was published in July 2017, the month she got married.  Derek’s parents self-migrated from Detroit, Michigan to Brunswick, GA where Derek lived until age two.  The family moved to Athens where his father became a fixture in the Athens banking community while his mother raised older son Derek and three daughters-Donna, Jackie, and Marie.  Derek fondly recalls summer visits to grandparents in Brunswick after the family moved to Athens.  At an early age, Derek enjoyed Trout and Bass fishing in North Georgia with his father and still does to this day.   

Derek graduated from Athens Christian and continued his education at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega where Derek earned a B.A. degree in Physical Education.  Twenty-three years ago, Derek married wife Susanna.  To date, they have limited their offspring to two pet dogs - Molly and Sally. 

I never knew this, but a P.E. degree allows one to transition into selling BBQ.  This is the career path Derek initially elected his first year out of college as a salesperson for Steadman and Son BBQ.  Derek was so successful selling pork and beef to restaurants that the company eventually folded.  His next target was the building supply industry.  Derek joined the firm Alley -Cassetty twelve years ago.  The firm is well known to contractors, builders, and architects, but not so much the public.  Alley-Cassetty was formed in the 1880s in Nashville, TN and entered the building brick and related materials (stone) delivery business in 1971 and has become the largest independent brick distributor in the southeast, according to the company web site.  The firm has ten offices in the southeast, with Derek working out of the Cumming location, servicing Clarke and Oconee counties.  His position requires that he maintain contact with clients and thus he can be found most days on the road.  Derek’s customer base is several hundred clients with close to five hundred job sites a year that feature brick or stone sold by Derek to builder/developers.         

Derek began participating in the Run and See, Black Bag, and Clover Glove race series in 2014.  Derek remembers a form of Couch to 5K regime leading to his first race, the Habitat Run at the Oconee campus of North Georgia in Watkinsville.  His time has slipped slightly due to the heavy commissions he is earning from the building industry robust return from the 2008-2009 housing recession.  When Bob inquired if Susanna runs, Derek advised that she can out run him to an ATM.  His only regret about running is the expense-not just the race fee but what Susanna spends when he is out on the race course. Obviously, they have come to an accommodation having been together for twenty-three years.    

Derek usually runs fifty races a year, many with sister Marie.  Derek was third in Run and See Georgia in the 45-49 age group in 2017, and currently is third place in his age group in the Black Bag race Series and second in the Clover Glove Race Series.  Favorite races are any at Sandy Creek Park in Athens.  If the series had a Clydesdale division, Derek would place first.  Pound for pound Derek is a great runner and has earned my respect for how fast his large frame can move.

 Bob checking out from the back of the pack.  Watch for the profile of Rosie Barber and Randy Booth


Erica Shepley - Chasing Offenders

Erica was born at Andrew’s Air Force Base in Maryland where her father was stationed on active duty in the Air Force.  The family relocated to hometown Winder, GA, then Texas when Erica was age three, and back to Winder.  Erica graduated from Winder-Barrow High School where she excelled in academics as well as being on the tennis and softball teams.  Education continued with Erica earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University for North Georgia, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Georgia Law School.  Erica’s social life took on meaning her senior year of undergraduate studies when she met her future husband at the Winder-Barrow YMCA.  Their initial common thread was their respective grandfathers had worked together for decades, but their paths had not previously crossed as husband to be resided in nearby Clarke County.

After marriage and her third year in law school, Erica searched for a venue where she could utilize her criminal justice background and prosecute an abundance of criminals.  Nearby Jefferson, GA and Jackson County provided that opportunity.  Erica is currently employed as an Assistant District Attorney for Jackson County where she is responsible for prosecuting all felony cases from drug possession to murder in that jurisdiction.    

Until her daughter Erilynn’s birth, Erica would run with her mother Victoria Patrick, a notable running fixture in Winder.  Initially, at Victoria’s suggestion, Erica ran to drop her “baby weight”.  She limited her run forays to about three miles until her father Eric Patrick suggested that she up her mileage to four miles for the fourth of July.  After watching the Peachtree Road race on television and observing “people I did not consider runners” completing a 6.2-mile course, Erica decided to train up for a 10K.  Her successful 10K debut was the Summer’s End 10K in August 2012.

Erica has running in her genes.  It just took a little time for that trait to surface.  Her parents had been long time avid runners and had participated in many half marathons.  Erica decided to run the Inaugural Jeff Galloway Half Marathon in Atlanta in December 2012. This became her favorite race for two reasons-Victoria ran it with Erica and she finished in the time she had projected as her goal.  This experience was so rewarding that Erica began to compete in Half Marathons.

Erica’s favorite race is the 2017 Las Vegas Rock n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon.  Erica anticipated that her mother and father would run this race with her. After registering for the race, she learned that her mother Victoria was suffering from liver failure and would have to go on the liver transplant list.  Because of a donor’s selfless decision to be an organ donor, Victoria received notice within twenty-four hours that a donor was available.  Erica ran the marathon with her daughter Erilynn and twisted her ankle two miles into the course.  Erica overcame this injury recalling her mother’s determination after a liver transplant to run and hobbled to the finish line completing the marathon.  Erica’s goal is to run the  Atlanta Half Marathon in October 2018.                  

Bob checking out from the back of the pack. Look for the profile of Mark Polson and profile of Rosie Barber.