Runner Profiles by Bob Slowpants

Thursday
Jun052014

Barbara Nasworthy - Pride of Pine Mountain

Barbara landed in Pine Mountain, GA, having spent the first eleven years of her life in Des Moines, Iowa, then sixteen years in Springfield, Illinois and twenty-three years in Scottsdale, Arizona.  She is an avid horse person who loves to be outdoors horseback riding, hiking, biking, swimming, and all things active.

Arizona provided the most memorable times of her life.  Barbara graduated Summa Cum Laude from Arizona State University with a B.S. in Human Resource Management.  Graduate experience in the insurance industry contributed to Barbara assisting with a startup company, Excess and Surplus Lines a subsidiary of a larger insurer (like Lloyds’ of London), in Scottsdale.  The firm grew from two employees to over one thousand and earning one billion dollars in annual premium income.  Barbara served as Vice President of Human Resources for the new firm.  Like the Apache Indian Chief, Cochise surrendered in Arizona as Barbara did to Jim, a LaGrange, Georgia native.  Jim was affiliated with Milliken & Company and considered Arizona a whistle stop which would eventually lead him back to a corporate role with the firm in Georgia.  Their union produced two sons that joined Barbara’s daughter from a previous marriage.

Jim eventually started his own commercial floor covering firm and after fourteen years at the Scottsdale insurance company, Barbara joined him as office manager to take advantage of a slower pace of life which gave her more time to enjoy her children.  This lifestyle allowed the opportunity to take the children hiking, including two treks down and up the Grand Canyon, and to enjoy snow skiing at their cabin in the White Mountains of Arizona.

In 2000 while visiting Georgia, they found a gorgeous home and property in Pine Mountain.  After relocating, her sons matriculated at Harris County High and then the University of Georgia (Jim’s Alma Mater).  Jay, age 28, has a master’s degree and is working in Atlanta for a startup tech firm.  Jeff, age 27, is a third-year Mercer medical student.  Barbara’s daughter and grandson continue to reside in Arizona.  Barbara and Jim have an array of animals on their forty-five acre farm in Pine Mountain.  Since relocating to Pine Mountain, Barbara has worked for AFLAC in Columbus, Colonial Bank in Montgomery, Alabama and presently Synovus Financial in Columbus as Compensation Manager and as a Consultant.

Lacing up her running shoes later in life, Barbara’s first race was the 2009 Warm Springs Candle Light Tour 5K where she hoped to just finish but was surprised to be first in her age group.  In her next race at Callaway Garden, she once again was first in her age group.  She then discovered that fellow runners were not only running back-to-back races, but accumulating points in the Run and See Georgia series, Black Bag series, and Clover Glove series.  As Barbara describes it, “It gets in your blood and the runners are all so nice and supportive.”

Barbara has worked up to the half-marathon distance and participated in three in January 2014.  Returning to work at Synovus and responsibilities on the farm limited Barbara to a goal of 1,000 jacket points in 2013. Although not getting any faster (PR: 5K-27:06 and 10K-56:50), she hopes to continue running for many years to come to the anguish of those in her age group where she finished fifth in the Run and See Georgia and fourth in her age group for the Black Bag race series.

Bob checking out from the back of the pack. Watch for the profile on Watkinsville area youthful runner Randy Ballew and later on Melinda Black.

Wednesday
May072014

Remembering Ron Landen

Below is the runner profile originally printed in 2010 on our dear friend Ron Landen.  Ron was diagnosed with a very agressive cancer in December of 2013.  On March 22nd 2014, Ron competed in three 5K races.  On April 13th 2014, our running family gathered together to celebrate the life of Ron but sadly he was unable to attend.  On May 4th 2014 some might say Ron lost his battle with cancer but we would like to think that he crossed the finish line winning this human race by leaving behind so many wonderful memories and experiences.  We repost this article and encourage you to leave comments and memories of Ron.  Our hearts are heavy with grief but we know that his pain and earthly stuggles are over.  We love you Ron and will miss you.

"Where's Ron"

Roger Keel and Ron LandenThis is Roger Keel’s comment as he completes a race and is ready to depart back to the Valley, Alabama- Columbus, Georgia area.  Ron and Roger have become carpool buddies since the 2009 Sweet Tomatoes races.  Roger drives and Ron navigates between naps.  Ron, in his own words, considers himself to be the luckiest man in the world.  Ron has survived several cancer surgeries plus heart attacks and has a list of ailments to long for this commentary.  

Ron has been graced with two sons and five grandchildren.  Wesley lives in Vancouver, Canada where Ron has two grandchildren courtesy of Wesley.  Robert resides in Panama City, Florida where Ron has three grandchildren thanks to Robert.   Ron’s parents still reside in Virginia where Ron spent his early years.  Ron was raised in Norfolk, Virginia graduating from Maury High School in 1962.  Ron joined the Air Force after graduation with an initial tour of duty that ended in 1969.  Ron next attended and graduated from Gulf Coast Junior College in Panama City, Florida.  Ron later completed a BS degree inTeacher Ron history at Auburn University.  Both Ron’s sons are Auburn graduates.  Ron acquired a second BS degree from Florida A& M University and a Master’s Degree in Horticulture from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallassee, Florida.  Ron taught horticulture for ten years in the Bay County Florida school system.  Ron was selected as Vocational Teacher of the Year in 1982 for Bay County.  Ron remained active in the Air Force Reserve since 1969 and in 1990 returned to active duty for the Gulf War.  Ron remained on active duty in special operations in the Air Force and retried with the rank of Lt. Col. with thirty five years service for our country.     

Ron and JackieRon and Jackie Phillips have been companions for thirteen years.  Jackie and Ron began attending Run and See Georgia races in 1989 with Ron placing twelfth in his age group.  They mutually decided in 2005 to win their respective age groups in the Run and See Georgia series, which they did thanks to Jackie’s planning and Ron’s driving.  Ron would drive up from Florida each weekend to accompany Jackie to races.  Both have been fixtures in the Run and See Georgia circuit for years.  When Ron retired, he relocated to Columbus, Georgia and lives across the street from Jackie.  Ron recalls ten years ago he was still recording finish times in the low twenty minutes for a 5K.  Ron was second in the 60-64 men’s age group standings with 3,053 points in 2009, and is dominating the age 65-69 age group in 2010. Ron has competed races in thirty-three states.  His best marathon time was 3:40 in Jacksonville, but his favorite marathon was Kiawah Island which he completed one year to the day after his first heart attack.  His best half marathon was at Seaside in Florida with a time of 1:37.  Ron’s best 10K time was 40:05 and best 5K time was 18:58 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.    

In addition to Jackie, Ron loves gardening.  Ron has cultivated twenty-twoKeep Running Ron! rose bushes in his garden in Columbus.  He has twelve amaryllis plants that his grandfather gave to his father and that Ron is continuing to cultivate.  Beyond his horticulture goals Ron is aiming for Senior Grandmaster Runner of the Year recognition in the Run and See Georgia series in 2010.  Ron will achieve this goal if Roger Keel remembers to wake him up for races when they arrive at the start from having left South Georgia departing at times as early as 3 a.m.  David Watkins is in Ron’s support group as David has assisted Ron to avoid getting lost even on a straight course.  

Bob checking out from the back of the pack.

Tuesday
Apr222014

Bill Davis - In Tune Dawg

Bill describes his childhood physique as “cubbish” and was “sort of OK” in sports growing up in Natchitoches, Louisiana.  He excelled in sports that did not involve endurance, like ping pong and badminton.  Music was in the family genes as Bill’s father was the band director at Northwestern State College (now Northwestern State University of Louisiana).  Bill graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Music and Masters in Music degrees.   While a Jay Hawk, he met his bride of over forty years, Jolene.  Bill completed graduate school at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York earning a Doctors of Music Arts degree.

Bill on left with his brother BobLike many of us in the Vietnam era, the Army decided that Bill should be in tune with the service.  Bill was unable to draw combat pay while stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco.  As a member of the Adjutant General Branch (human resources for you non military types), Bill was selected as the Sixth Army Staff Band Officer.  As Bill described it, he “did a job for the Army that he was qualified to do”.  He traveled in the then Sixth Army area (the northwestern United States) inspecting National Guard and Army Reserve Military Bands.  His new bride also enjoyed being stationed near the ocean, the Sierras, wine country and a multitude of cultural attractions.  The units he inspected were located in prime vacation areas such as Seattle, Phoenix, Portland, Los Angles, Reno and Salt Lake City to name a few.      

Jessica, Katie, Jolene and BillLife after military service found Bill as a full time bassoonist/contrabassoonist with the San Antonio Orchestra.  Bill next became a faculty member of West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas (better known as WTAMU or What am you!).   In 1981 Bill accepted a position at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia, relocating his family to Athens.  At UGA he taught bassoon, composition and theory, later becoming involved in the school of music administration. 

Bill retried from UGA a couple of years ago.  Since they are empty nesters Bill and Jolene have been doing a lot of traveling with their trusty pop up trailer camper that they purchased in 2008. Their daughters Jessica and Katie were born in 1984 and 1986 respectively.  Jessica now lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama where she is Executive Director of the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra.  Katie works for the Democratic Party of Kansas and resides in Wichita. Bill and Jolene’s favorite trips are those that involve camping and Bill running one or more races.  Their next trip will be in April when Bill turns sixty-five.  They will be heading  to St. Louis, Missouri where Bill will run the St. Louis Marathon.     

Bill started running in 2003 at age 54 after trying to starve off unwanted pounds.  Bill found that races and participating in running series are “milestones” for the greater goal of keeping fit” and the people who run in them are “pretty amazing!” Without naming a favorite race, Bill likes any race at Sandy Creek Park (with or without the “dam hill”).  Bill has completed fourteen marathons with the first being Tybee.  His philosophy is to run the first twenty miles slowly, then run walk the next 5K portion, and finally “walk, shuffle, limp, or crawl the final leg”.  

Bob checking out from the back of the pack.  Look for the profile of Barbara Nasworthy and the profile of youthful senior runner Randy Ballew.

Tuesday
Apr012014

Jocelyn Davis - A Firefighters Dream

Jocelyn is a lifetime Athens native but spent her childhood weekends in Hiawassee, Georgia where she traveled to see her grandparents and enjoyed playing in the North Georgia Mountains.  As a teenager, she attended and graduated from Clarke Central where she was a member of the Cross Country team. Jocelyn admits to not being very fast but she enjoyed and appreciated the camaraderie with team members.  Her love for running was initiated during this period but she did not have the reward of personal accomplishments.      

Jocelyn’s education continued at the University of Georgia where she achieved Honors status and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in social science education.  During her collegiate career, Jocelyn was a counselor at Rock Eagle and Wahsega 4-H Centers.  Her running during these stints consisted of running to the cottages, hollering for recreation activities and hiking.

Jocelyn taught middle school for five years before returning to UGA earning a Master’s in Social Science Education degree acquired attending night classes.  During this busy period in her life, she started entering Athens area 5K races.  Like many of us, Jocelyn suffered from pre registration anxiety-if you registered for a race you show up!  She enjoyed the Saturday morning races and their different routes through Athens.   Jocelyn found racing acquaintances that transitioned into friends.  Running and participating in the race series became like “supportive team”.  

Jocelyn married husband Ryan, a firefighter, who got the hots for her.  She completed her Educational Specialist degree in School Leadership Administration from North Georgia.   She currently teaches at Winder Barrow High School where she devotes extra curriculum time to coaching the cheerleading squad.  When Ryan is occupied Jocelyn enjoys knitting, playing with her miniature schnauzer Roxie and serves as an advisor to her college sorority, the Delta Zeta chapter at UGA.

Running has become a constant in her life and she feels “out of balance without running with her friends”.  She relishes her accomplishment of completing the Chicago Marathon with the Darius Goes West running group.  Jocelyn’s favorite races include the Elberton Granite Bowl Twilight Stroll and the Naples Florida Half Marathon.  Jocelyn doesn’t know her PRs but she is always “happy and feels good at the end of a race”.  Jocelyn states that she appreciates the running community for “their gracious spirit and loving hearts.”  She is also “delighted to stand on the starting line with them every chance she gets”.

Jocelyn finished first in the competitive 30-34 female age group in the Clover Glove Race series and third in her age group in the Black Bag Race series.        

Bob checking out from the back of the pack.  Look for the profiles of retired but not yet exhausted UGA professor Bill Davis and Pine Mountain’s pride Barbara Nasworthy.   

Tuesday
Feb112014

Lauren Freeman - Wanted to be wired but is all wet

Lauren Freeman has always resided in Cleveland, Georgia with the exception of a few years during college.  He grew up playing baseball and basketball but found the most success at White County High School running cross country and track.  After a 17:52 PR in a 5K distance and running 6-8 training miles a day, Lauren developed shin splits and a stress fracture his junior year.  The injuries affected his finish times when he returned for his senior year track competition.  

Young Lauren competing in Cross CountryLauren matriculated at nearby Gainesville College graduating with an Associate Degree in both engineering and business.  He transferred to Southern Polytechnic State University seeking a bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering.  Scheduling problems limited the classes Lauren could take to be considered a full time student and maintain his insurance coverage.  Returning closer to his roots, Lauren moved to Dahlonega enrolling at North Georgia College as a full time student.  Lauren commuted to Marietta to continue taking engineering courses at Southern Poly while taking a full load at North Georgia.  This allowed Lauren to eventually qualify as a full time student at Southern Poly.  Not willing to forfeit his credits at North Georgia College when he moved to Marietta, he continued to take night courses at the Gainesville’s North Georgia College campus 2 to 3 times a week.  Persistence resulted in two degrees-an Electrical Engineering degree from Southern Poly in 2005 and a business administration degree from North Georgia in 2006. Lauren was now uniquely qualified with two degrees plus the experience to drive across North Georgia to Run and See Georgia, Black Bag, and Clover Glove Series races.   

Multitalented Lauren worked for his father’s business, Freeman Electrical and Pump Service, during high school and college.  While in college Lauren qualified for an unrestricted electrical contractor license.  After graduation Lauren began work full time for his father as an electrician while seeking an engineering position.  Lauren wanted to be a hands on field engineer rather than sitting at a desk doing designs and CAD work.  Lauren was on the verge of accepting a position with a large electrical firm in Atlanta as an engineer when family loyalty surfaced when his father asked him to manage his other business, American Water Services.  Lauren preferred the pace of life and lack of commuter traffic that Cleveland had to offer as opposed to Atlanta so the choice was easy to rationalize.

American Water Services owned and operated community water systems in North Georgia.  Lauren wanted to improve his resume so he studied to achieve certification as a class three water system operator.  Lauren expanded the firm, developing its own water lab and now does water filtration. With additional courses completed by now, professional student Lauren obtained licenses as a Certified Lab Analyst and as a Certified water Filtration Specialist.  In his spare time Lauren still does a few electrical jobs to maintain proficiency in that field.

Lauren with the 2013 BBRS champ Jim LatimerIn 2010 Lauren found that he was gaining weight and not having the energy that he used to have while commuting to complete his dual degrees.   Being a high mileage type of guy, he started running in a few local races and found in 2011 on the Georgia Runner website that he was in the top twenty-five in the 25-29 age group.  He ran a few more races that year finishing fifth in his age group.  After overhearing Bo Ryles (not hard to do as loud as Bo is!) discuss the Black Bag Races Series with another runner, he begin to seek races that were in the Black Bag Race Series.  Lauren completed 2013 winning overall top point achiever in the Black Bag Race Series plus his age group in Clover Glove.  As the overall winner in the BBRS, Lauren won a BBRS dri fit shirt, BBRS Hat, BBRS Bag, a pair of shoes from Fleet Feet Athens,  a pair of Red Star Sunglasses  and the grand prize of running in as many Black Bag Race Series races as he wants for FREE along with the coveted Will Chamberlin Memorial Cup!  His best PR in a 5K since high school was 19:20 in the Lawrenceville Flashlight 5K and 43:27 in the 10K Kennesaw Summer Steamer.  His favorite race is Cleveland’s Crow’s Calling 5K which is a short commute.  Lauren remarked that what he enjoys the most about the multiple race series is that “we can be extremely competitive with each other and still be friends at the end of the day”.  Goals for 2014 include running his first marathon and getting his 5K time under 19:00!                        

Bob checking out from the back of the pack.  Look for the profile on Jocelyn Davis and the retired but not yet exhausted UGA professor Bill Davis.