Runner Profiles by Bob Slowpants

Monday
Oct072013

Troy Garland - Running from Cancer

Troy was born in Milledgeville, GA, the elder of two children born to Brenda and Tommy Garland. His brother Brendan presently resides in the North Georgia Mountains.  He attended John Milledge Academy from kindergarten through the twelfth grade, graduating in 1989. Troy participated in basketball, baseball, and track in middle school and high school.  Unlike Joel Chandler Harris, Troy opted to stay in Milledgeville and continue his education at Georgia College, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Information Systems/Communications while working full time as Assistant Manager for the  Sherwin-Williams Company.  Troy was active in Kappa Alpha Order at Georgia College and served as chapter treasurer for several years.

Graduation led to placement with Hanson Aggregates, a firm with mining operations in the continental United States and Europe.  Troy started as a quality control technician at the firm’s Sparta, GA location, progressing to the positions of Area Supervisor of Quality Control and Pit Forman.  Troy continued his post graduate education in the evenings.  He accepted a position with the Coca-Cola Company in 2001 as a Programmer Analyst in the Atlanta area.  When his position was outsourced, Troy returned to Milledgeville to be employed by the Unimin Corporation at their Kaolin mining and processing facility in their McIntyre, GA facility as a shift supervisor.  Troy has persevered and is now the plant superintendent at that location.  

Troy has always led an active life playing tennis and golf in college as well as intramural basketball, softball, and flag football.  He continues to enjoy hunting and fishing mostly on his family’s land in Hancock and Washington counties.  He bought his first motorcycle in 2001; a used Honda Shadow.  After owning several bikes, he now possesses a stable which includes a Harley-Davidson Softail, a Kawasaki KLR (dual sport) and a few dirt bikes.  Troy rides his Harley to Daytona Beach every March for Bike week.  When not running, he enjoys riding his bikes in the North Georgia Mountains with his brother and friends.   He also finds time to serve as a Deacon at Darien Baptist Church in Linton, GA. 

Troy suffered a setback in late 2005 when at the age of thirty-four he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  A minor sinus infection led to the discovery of the cancer.  Fortunately five months of chemotherapy and one month of radiation at the Georgia Cancer Specialist section of the Oconee Regional Medical Center in Milledgeville knocked out the disease.  After seven and half years, Troy is still cancer free.  In 2011 Troy had been steadily gaining weight after recovering from his fight against cancer.  When the scales tipped two hundred and forty pounds, Troy decided to reverse course.  Weight lifting and treadmill running were his initial efforts.

In November 2011 Troy completed the Big Dam 5K in Milledgeville and began to participate in local area races every other weekend.  Running in the Clover Glove Legging It for Lincoln at Rock Eagle in 2012 changed his view of running and led him to kick the treadmill in favor of the outdoors. The Clover Glove Race Series he found was a fun close knit group of runners.  The Twelve days of Christmas series in July 2012 was his first venture in distance beyond a 5K.  It was also his introduction to points racing.  He has found that the Clover Glove, Black Bag, and Run and See Georgia Grand Prix series have been a fun motivational way to keep running exciting.  The other runners he has met have been “a true blessing”. Troy has found the series participants to be a “motivating and caring group”.     

In early 2012 Troy borrowed a bicycle and joined the Georgia College Wellness Center to learn how to swim correctly.  He competed in the Old Capital Sprint Triathlon in May 2012. Triathlon cross training has provided a different component to his level of fitness.  Troy completed his first half marathon at the Athens Half Marathon in the fall of 2012. Later in the fall he participated in the Peachtree City 25K.  He also completed a Tough Mudder event in Tampa, Florida and several Warrior Dash Mud Runs.  Troy comfortably leads the Black Bag Race Series 40-44 age group in 2013 with 747 points, and The Clover Glover Race Series age group with 551 points.  Troy’s goal in 2014 is to complete his first marathon and Ironman.       

Bob checking out from the back of the pack.  Watch for the profiles on Belinda Moon and on Ricky Hayes.

Monday
Sep232013

Cooking with Cheryl

Cheryl Cook was born in Boston, Mass and grew up as an Army brat enduring her father’s thirty-one year active and reserve military career.  Her father retired at the rank of Colonel and in civilian life the family continued to relocate to facilitate construction of book publishing plants in Pennsylvania and Vermont and later developing newspaper chains in the Carolinas and Georgia.  Summers were spent on various military bases where her type A father continued his reserve service as an instructor for the Army Infantry School, Army Artillery School and for the Army Command and General Staff College.  Her mother was a stay at home mom, wherever that happened to be, until Cheryl and her sibling sister left for college.  Cheryl’s mother then pursued a successful career as an award winning advertising manager for Community Newspapers, the same employer that Cheryl’s father was working for.   

Cheryl did not become active in athletics until her senior year in high school when she developed a knack for playing defense on the girls’ basketball team.  She continued playing basketball at Brevard College in her freshman year.  She later attended the University of Tennessee.  Cheryl’s first career was in advertising/public relations with the Oak Ridge Group in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  Her son Chad was born in Oak Ridge in 1982.

Following a divorce, Cheryl moved to Clayton, Georgia to be closer to her parents.  She worked with an affiliate newspaper in nearby Highlands, North Carolina where she earned Special Publications Advertising Director of the Year recognition.  Tiring of balancing being on the road and a single mom, Cheryl pursued a career as a Medical Technologist returning to school acquiring a degree in Health Science Administration from the University of Phoenix.  She completed internships in a three state area.  Graduation followed with stints at Oconee Memorial in Seneca, South Carolina and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.  Cheryl’s vocation had a profound effect on son Chad, who matured to pursue a career as a Paramedic and Firefighter.  Chad became involved in recreational league athletics working with Barry Cook, who was the Athletic Director of Parks and Recreation for Rabun County, Georgia. Cheryl volunteered to coach basketball for Barry and ended up coaching herself into remarriage and a return to athletics.

Tragedy stuck in 2003 when Cheryl suffered a debilitating injury to her right hand resulting in endless hours of physical therapy.  Cheryl used the down time to pursue another career change earning a Master’s Degree in Education-Cross Categorical Special Education from the University of Phoenix.   Teaching others to overcome challenges and injury came naturally following Cheryl’s experience as she taught the following eight years in both the private and public school sectors.  Both Barry and Cheryl coached basketball, fast-pitch softball, and track.  Spending days in a classroom and constantly on the road in their spare time led to the infamous coach’s diet of fast food and anything for an energy boost. Pounds went on and health plus fitness declined in direct proportion.  

Rock and Roll Savannah 2011After developing a fear of being taller laying down than standing up, Cheryl resolved to restore her health through biking and running.  The pounds begin to drop off as she participated in local 5K races and she celebrated shedding one hundred and six pounds by participating in an Olympic Triathlon event in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The experience was brutal.  Cheryl completed the swim alongside a dead carp after fellow swimmers barreled over her, almost was the last place finisher in the bike ride portion of the event, but rallied to catch son Chad in the run.   

 Cheryl and Barry left teaching and coaching in 2010 to help care for respective ailing parents who were enduring health issues.  Barry and Cheryl have since acquired the designation as health and wellness coaches with AdvoCare and have traveled the Southeast and Midwest for the past three years helping others achieve fitness goals.  Running together has created special memories to include the 2013 Disney Goofy Challenge with son and daughter in law. Cheryl joined Athens Workout Warriors and credits trainer April Williams in learning to train sensibility, not just run until you drop.  Good nutrition aided Cheryl’s qualification for the USAT Duathlon National Championship to be conducted in Arizona in October 2013.   

X-Country Half MarathonCheryl discovered Run and See Georgia and the Black Bag race series at the January 2013 ML5K in Athens.  Run and See 2012 overall point’s queen and unofficial ambassador Kathy Givens introduced Cheryl to other participating runners and explained point chasing as only Kathy can do.  Ron Landen encouraged Cheryl participation in the Black Bag and Clover Glove series.  Husband Barry occasionally has joined the adventure to meet Cheryl’s running acquaintances.  The Disney Dopey Challenge with fellow runner Sarah Wishnietsky conquering 48.6 miles in four days is on the horizon possibly followed by emulating Georg Southgate completing fifty marathons in fifty states.  When her running pace occasionally slows, Cheryl and Barry are avid German Sheppard rescue participants.

Bob checking out from the back of the pack.  Watch for the profile on Milledgeville’s Troy Garland and the profile on Cheryl’ s fellow Dopey participant Sarah Wishnietsky.

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.