Runner Profiles by Bob Slowpants

Wednesday
Aug072013

Larry Hayes - Way Too Much Golf

Larry was born in Oklahoma which is a fact and also works as an excuse.  His parents were educators, his mother was a professor at Oklahoma University and his father was Dean of Education at Oklahoma State and later, the Oklahoma State Board of Regents.  Larry’s grandfather was a school superintendent and two of his uncles were college presidents.  Larry is not sure what changed in the genes, but he and his three brothers all are in the “golf” business.  Larry became a Club Professional and now manages golf facilities.  His brother Mark played on the PGA Tour for twenty years, won several tournaments including the Tournament Players Championship and played in the 1979 Ryder Cup.  Brother Jim earned an agronomy degree and is a golf course superintendent.  Youngest brother Dan also became a club professional and runs golf facilities for the US Air Force currently in Tokyo, Japan.

Brother Mark and Larry were introduced to golf when Larry was age six and Mark five.  While they played other sports growing up, by high school they both had selected golf as the sport they wanted to concentrate on and play competitively.  His two younger brothers begin playing golf at a very early age as well.  Larry played on a high school golf team that won the Oklahoma State Championship four years straight and played competitive amateur golf on a national level.  Larry earned a full four year golf scholarship at Oklahoma City University where he majored in business administration.  During high school and college Larry worked at a local, very busy golf course resulting in earning the position as an Assistant Golf Professional upon college graduation.

Larry recalls that after one year as an Assistant Golf Professional and nine years of working every weekend, he took time off to build an A-Frame cabin on family property near Branson, Missouri.  The cabin is still standing forty years later and is the only venture, other than marrying Mary, that he was ever involved in that did not include golf.

Larry returned to the real world as an Assistant Golf Professional in Springfield, Missouri for two years.  Larry married prior to moving to Fort Worth, Texas where he was employed as an Assistant Golf Professional at a Fort Worth Country Club.  His daughter was born thereafter and Larry became the Head Golf Professional at Ridglea Country Club in Fort Worth.  While the first marriage did not work out, Larry was able to secure a position as Director of Golf at the Trophy Club, the only golf course Ben Hogan ever designed.  Larry held the position of Director of Golf and later Club manager for eighteen years and for two years oversaw two other area private golf clubs.  During this period, he met the love of his life Mary, whom he married and expanded their family to three daughters between them.  During this time, Larry wrote and published the “Junior Golf Book” for St. Martin’s Press.  It was so successful that it was later published in paperback and published with a different hardback cover in Europe.

Larry and Mary transitioned to Cumming, Georgia in 2000 where he became General Manager of the Polo Golf and Country Club.  A year later he moved to White Columns Country Club in Milton and now is the General Manager of the high end Atlanta National Country Club.  Mary took up running and discovered points chasing, and soon retired as work interfered with her running.  Some of the races required traveling long distances and driving at night so Larry was introduced to the craziness of the running world as a chauffeur.  Larry met Wayne and Cheryl Vail at Villa Rica at the first race he attended. Thereafter Mary talked him into walking a race in Clayton where he ran, walked some, and came in second behind Bill Chamblee winning a coffee cup!  Larry was hooked after the encouragement of Kathy Givens and Chris Scammon whom he met there. 

For the first time Larry has a hobby to pass the time other than golf, which he can look forward to and enjoy.  Larry enjoys the entire running family and hopes the great experience continues for many, many years!              

Bob checking out from the back of the pack.  Look for the profile on Cheryl Cook, and Milledgeville’s Troy Garland.  

Sunday
Jul142013

Mitchell Sinyard - Growing on the Run

The Boston 4, Josh Myers, Mitchell Sinyard, Perry Slaughter and Alan BlackElite runner Mitchell Sinyard tends to a three quarter acre garden located across the road from his home on twenty acres he recently purchased from what was his late grandfather’s farm.  The garden produces  squash, okra, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, and cantaloupes from which his family along with wife Lynn feed themselves.  Daughter Jessica has already left the bread basket by marring and now resides in Concord, GA with two children, daughter Scarlett and son Hayden.  Her brother, fourteen year old son John Mitchell, (they call him by both names) is still garden dependent.  Mitchell’s farming roots run deep having been raised in Hawkinsville, GA and worked after high school graduation on his grandfather’s farm for five years.  Mitchell’s grandfather intensively farmed four hundred acres of row crop peanuts, cotton, and corn plus tended a heard of fifty cows and one hundred and fifty hogs.  Mitchell’s grandfather named him his number “one hog man”.  Grandchildren Hayden and ScarlettMitchell alleges “hogs were sent to earth to teach patience” to their handlers.  Mitchell’s patience resulted in the hogs dining on mostly corn, soybeans, and supplements while not following his directions.    

 Mitchell spent the next six years porking out working on two different hog farms prior to accepting a position as a sheet metal specialist at nearby (thirty-one mile commute) Warner Robbins Air Force Base.  Mitchell toiled seventeen years as a government service sheet metal specialist prior to upgrading to a C-5 aircraft inspector for four years.  Mitchell’s running experience paid off as he has to climb every inch of the air frame during his inspection.  Mitchell now holds the position of an Industrial Planner at Warner Robbins Air Force Base.     

Mitchell and JessicaMitchell’s first race was the Macon Labor Day 5K in 1993 and he has never looked back.  His favorite is the old Tar Baby 10K (now The Torture Trail 10K) in Eatonton, GA.   Mitchell participated in forty-nine Run and See Georgia races in 2012 with a max of seventy-six a few years ago.  Mitchell also serves on weekends as back up song director for County Line Baptist.  Mitchell muses that if the Baptists need his services, he is severely limited in the number of hymns he can summon.  Mitchell acknowledges that his wife Lynn, used to be aggravated with the time he spent doing races.  Now she only inquires which direction he is going on a Saturday morning!  His hobbies include camping, with Dillard, GA being his favorite camp venue and his favorite area camping race being the one up the mountain at Sky Valley.  

Mitchell placed third in 2012 in the 50-54 men in the Black Bag Race series only due to the limited number of races he participated in, not for lack of speed or athletic ability. Mitchell didn’t even realize he had placed in the series until he ran a race at Middle Georgia Technical School where he received his Black Bag and Black Bag Series Shirt.   Mitchell would like to see more Black Bag scheduled in South Georgia in the future.   His best 5K time was 18:26 at a Plain’s Peanut Festival race, 38:52 for a 10K, one hour and 27 minutes in aMitchell with his Tar Baby Award half marathon, and three hours 17 minutes in a full marathon.  A tribute to Mitchell’s running prowess was that he qualified and participated in the 2005 Boston Marathon (Lead photo of the event with Josh Myers, Perry Slaughter, Mitchell, and Alan Black).

Bob checking out from the back of the pack.  Look for the profiles on Mary Hayes better half Larry Hayes, and on Cheryl Cook, and on Milledgeville’s Troy Garland.

Wednesday
Jun052013

Richard Harrison - Self Deported New Yorker

Richard is a transplanted Long Island, New York runner.  Richard considered himself an average runner in high school after becoming a participant of the cross-country team when a friend left the team.  Richard attended State University of New York Maritime College and ran cross country his freshman year.  He prided himself on running six-seven minute miles and being sixty pound lighter than his current weight.  Richard alleges Maritime College was a small school with no established track program.  While the summer tours of duty aboard ship, physical activity was limited to walking the plank.  Richard’s cross country time was also impacted by qualifying for the school drinking team.  However when Richard felt sleepy during late night sessions, he would run to stay awake.  Richard once bet his college roommate that whoever scored the lowest on a math test would result in the loser running five miles.  Richard had to run the five miles on the track but felt that the punishment was not that bad!  Richard graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology & Oceanography and with a Third Mate Merchant Marine’s License.   

Jacque Cousteau and the Weather Service were not hiring when Richard graduated.  After a couple of temporary jobs Richard got a “real job” with a grain export firm in lower Manhattan arranging commodity shipment  abroad.  Richard found time to run at lunch with his favorite routes being over the Brooklyn Bridge and up on the old abandoned West Side Highway near the World Trade Center.   Runner, Bill Rodgers, inspired Richard to participate in his first race, the Cross Island Marathon in 1978.  He admitted not preparing for it and suffering thereafter.  Richard has never competed in another marathon but has run in all the 5Ks, 10Ks, and five milers he could find plus an occasional half marathon.   

Richard married his first wife Anna in 1977 with their daughter Janelle born in 1982.  In 1987, Richard was laid off from his position as grain exports declined.  He disliked northern winters and large cities, and as his to be ex wife had relatives in North Georgia, he self deported in 1987 like many predecessor carpet baggers.  Upon arrival Richard participated in local races and found the Run and See Georgia series.  Richard recalls being told that Will Chamberlain put on races and stated that if “You don’t know who Will is, you soon will!” Richard and Bob Slowpants both lament what a big loss Wills’ passing has been to the running community. 

Twenty five years ago Richard accepted a position as the Environmental Nazi of Barrow County inspecting restaurants, motels, pools, permitting septic tanks, doing rabies control, and “other duties as assigned”.   Richard currently works in the same capacity for the Jackson County Health Department.  Richards’s first marriage disunion followed with a 2000 marriage to Teresa, a floral designer.  Teresa is a walker who endures Richards’ running mania remarking once, that Richard has more clothes than her but they are all running shirts!      

Richard’s daughter and son in law Mark reside in St. Augustine, FL and have produced two grandchildren for Richard.  They live two blocks from the fountain of youth.  Richard advised that when he drinks the water it does not seem to help.  Once he reaches the 65-69 age group, he will realize that those of us in the age bracket are desperate!

 
Unless sick or traveling, Richard can be found at a race on the Black Bag circuit. He has four 1,000 point Run and See Georgia jackets to his credit, and has placed in his age group finals since 2002. Richard qualified for a 2012 Black bag and tech shirt. Unfortunately Richard only qualified for a left Clover Glove in 2012, which has come in handy when checking septic tanks and field lines.  Richard admits to having met a lot of great people running and is proud to be a part of the extended running family.  When not running, Richard enjoys gardening, Yoga, and photography.  His favorite races are the Hartwell Dam 5K, Soque River Ramble 5K, and of course Clay Sims Red Barn Ramble.  His best time is anytime he crosses the finish line.   

 Bob checking out from the back of the pack.  Look for the profile on Mitchell Sinyard and late the profile of Mary Hayes’ better half Larry Hayes.   

Monday
Apr012013

Amber Hodor - Running with Reservations

Amber at the Red Barn Ramble 5KAmber Hodor was born in Margate, Florida just north of Miami.  She attended High School at Fort Pearce Central in Port Saint Lucie, Florida where she and her parents resided.  She ran cross country in high school only as a conditioning exercise for soccer.  Running did not agree with Amber when she tore the ACL in both her knees requiring surgery her senior year in high school.  Amber played soccer from age eight until she graduated from Florida State in 2007.  There she earned a Bachelor Degree in Business Hospitality.  In college she lifted weights to build stamina for soccer in lieu of running.

After graduation Amber moved to Dothan, Alabama to accept a position as guest services manager at a Hampton Inn and Suites.  After the culture shock of trading the bright lights of Tallahassee for the nonexistent social life of Dothan, her three aunts, whoAmber and her aunt Joni were runners, encouraged her to seek out a local running group.  Her first foray was the 2010 Critter Run 5K (nothing to do with road kill) where she placed third in her age group with an athletic time of 24:30. She was hooked and continued attending area races.

Opportunity came knocking in the form of a position as Assistant General Manager of the Hilton Garden Inn in Macon on the edge of the Mercer University campus.  Amber accepted the position and began running in Macon.  She recalls taking the same tack as Dothan and seeking out local running groups, like Macon Tracks.  Amber recalls participating in a 5K race at Howard High School in Macon where she was asked if she wanted to venture to Dublin, GA for a race via carpool.  Amber accepted the challenge from Eddie Lamberth, who is her frequent companion at Run and See Georgia, Black Bag, and Clover Glove Races as she describes “every Saturday and Sunday”.  She also enjoys riding bicycles, hiking, water sports, and visiting Georgia State Parks.

Clay Sims will appreciate that Amber’s favorite race is the Black Bag Race Series Red Barn Ramble 5K. She enjoys the cow fields, excellent fare and adult beverages available for the post race cool down.  A close second is Clover Glove/Black Bag races at Camp Fortson 4H Center in Hampton where the “scenery is beautiful, runners are really nice, and the races are low key and easy to earn points”.

Amber placed first in the 25-29 female age groups in the 2012 the Black Bag and Clover Glove race series and is not letting up in 2013.  Her PRs are indicative of her racing prowness-2012 Macon Labor Day 5K time of 20:20, 2012 Jim Heron 10K time of 45:38, and 2013 Museum of Aviation Half Marathon time of 1:42.  RaceAmber at Leggin' it for Lincoln coordinators note that Amber recommends that if you win overall male/female you should receive extra points beyond just those normally awarded for being first in your age group.                        

Bob checking out from the back of the back.  Look for the May profile on the Hawkinsville flash Mitchell Sinyard and June will feature Richard Harrison.  

Wednesday
Mar202013

Charles Jackson - Running with Adult Supervision

Parents Jeff Jackson and Deborah Snyder “look at each other in amazement when they watch Charles run and win consistently”.  Jeff acknowledges that neither he nor Deborah are particularly athletic. Charles’ journey toward running started one spring day in 2011.  At the age eight, the second grader announced after school that he was excited about joining the running club at Livsey Elementary in Tucker.  Each week the club practiced stretching, running laps and learning about running basics.  Many of the club members, including Charles, were participating in the Tucker Road Race so his parents signed him up for the one mile fun run.  On race day Charles begged his parents to allow him to participate in the 5K.  They reluctantly did so and Charles won his age group with a time of 29:32. Since the 2011 Tucker Road Race, Charles has run an average of three 5K or longer races per month logging fifty-five races in 2011 and sixty-nine races in 2012, many of which were Black Bag Race Series events.

Charles is proud of his time of 2:01 time at the January 2012 Calloway Gardens Half Marathon even though his PR was achieved at the December 2012 Monroe Half Marathon. Charles with his father Jeff and friends Casey and Ed Hall His day was made at the Monroe Half when adult runners congratulated the young runner and advised him that “try as they might, they could not catch him” as he ran a 1:49 race pace. His only mishap was at the 2011 4th of July Lake Sinclair 5K when running on gravel he was knocked over by the crowd of adult runners.  Charles badly skinned his knee, arm, and face.  Charles got up and ran to his parents, who were distraught and seeking medical assistance.  Charles noticing the pack moving ahead without him stopped crying and ran after them spurring medical aid.  He caught up and finished second in his age nineteen seconds behind the winner.  Charles received medical aid after the race and was featured with a half page article in the local newspaper sports page written by a reporter in attendance who was impressed with his perseverance.

Charles with his father on a skiing tripCharles recalls his most exciting race was the Dental Dash for Diabetes 5K in March 2012 in the old fourth ward of Atlanta.  The course was three laps with Charles trailing a fast ten year old participant. Charles gained on the faster lad each lap only to finish six inches behind him.  Both boys shook hands and walked away smiling-a lesson in life for adult runners.  Charles  runs mostly with adults and has met several area youth runners his age.  He admits in a rare instance slowing down at the end to allow another boy to win who “had never won a race”.    

Charles won his age group in the 2012 Black Bag Race Series with 340 pointsCharles with Georgia Congressman John Lewis and ran a total of 171.6 Black Bag Miles.  Charles greatest accomplishment was getting his proud parents “off the couch” with Deborah slow jogging in races and Jeff participating as well.

Bob checking out from the back of the back.  Look for the May profile on Macon speedster Amber Hodor and June on the Hawkinsville flash Mitchell Sinyard.