Runner Profiles by Bob Slowpants

Friday
May112012

David Eckles - Professor of Running

David was born in June of 1975 in a little town located in Dodge County by the name of Eastman, Georgia, (obviously a hotbed of Clover Glove running talent from that area of the state).  David’s father was the principal of Dodge County High School until 1982, that is when David’s father accepted a position as the principal of Thomasville High School and the family was relocated to Thomasville, Georgia.  As a youth, David recalls his initial foray into running by participating in the “fun run” at the Rose City Run.  Quite the athlete, while attending Thomasville High, he earned varsity letters in tennis and soccer.  He also excelled academically in mathematics, earning a Hope Scholarship.

Utilizing his scholarship, David began his freshman year in Athens at the University of Georgia electing a concentration in Actuarial Science.  David entered UGA’s Terry College of Business Risk Management and Insurance program, only to find the concentration discontinued the following academic year.  Fortunately for students at UGA, David was lazy enough NOT to change his major.  David applied his academic background to practical experience with an internship with the Risk Management Department of Gold Kist during the Olympic Games held 1996.  While attending UGA, David ran a handful of races in the Athens area.  He can remember filling out finish cards, so odds are they were Classic Race Services races run by CRS founder, Will Chamberlin.

After David graduated, he remained in Athens for a year to strengthen his mathematical and statistical background.  He then headed north to attend the University of Pennsylvania graduate school studying Risk Management and Insurance.  While there, David spent free time playing graduate pick up basketball.  On a lark in 1999, David and other graduate students participated in the Philadelphia Distance Run, now known as the Philadelphia Rock N Roll Marathon.  He finished his race in 2:23:41.  The distractions of dissertation and basketball assured that running was not a priority until the last year of graduate school.  As a result, David earned a MA and PHD degrees from his studies, a broken nose from basketball and put on some unwanted pounds.

David began running more and was up to three miles a day when he accepted a position as an Assistant Professor at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia.  He primarily taught Risk Management and Insurance in the Department of Finance and Quantitative Analysis.  After two years of running, professoring and gnats in Statesboro, David came back to UGA in the fall of 2005 as an Assistant Professor of Risk Management and Insurance in the Terry College of Business.  David began running with his friend Brian Parker.  Until 2007, David had only participated in no more than one race a weekend.  He set a goal of running more race in a day, multiple races a weekend and varied distances.

David admits to being a little off his top form but is one of fastest “fat guys” around.  With a PR of 19:59 set at the Bostwick Gin Run 5K, a 42:24 at the Charles Harris 10K and completing two full marathons, the fastest being 3:36:52 at the Albany Snicker Marathon, David certainly has accomplished more than most.  His favorite award is one that was won when he returned to his childhood run, the Thomasville Rose Run.  David has no intention of slowing down in the number of races he runs.  He enjoys “attending races around the state with all my running friends”.  His new goal is to, as he puts it, “eventually catch up with a couple of old guys, who shall remain nameless, who regularly beat me”.

Bob checking out from the back of the pack.  Look for future profiles on Brenda Gail Wall, Bub Way and Adrian Woodruff.

Sunday
Apr012012

Running Survivor - Barbara Conley

Barbara ConleyBarbara Conley was born in May 1944 in Potsdam, Germany while her father was fighting for the Third Reich on the eastern front in mother Russia.  The family lived in Berlin, but relocated for a time to Potsdam due to the heavy Allied bombing raids. Barbara grew up in the late 40s and early 50s playing in the rubble of bombed out apartment buildings and balancing on beams of bombed out bridges. Due to the presence of dangerous, unexploded munitions left from Allied shelling, the police would report the children to their parents for playing in the rubble, where they made little caves and dungeons.

Barbara was fond of and excelled in school, especially athletics such as track and field (javelin throw and shot put included) and was on her high school swim team.  She matriculated in a three year technical college, majoring in accounting and economics.  She found herself with a position working for the Berlin city government in the family services office for a reform school for boys.  Barbara and JimIn 1964 she met and married her husband of forty-seven years, Jim, an American soldier from the mountains of NC.  They migrated to the United States in 1967, settling in Georgia.  They have two children, Bobby (age 46) and Patty (age 44), and several grandchildren.  For the next 30 years, Barbara concentrated on raising her children and maintaining a career with Lanier Business Products as a contract administrator.  She retired in 2005 after thirty-two years with the company.  Although an athlete in her youth, exercise was not in her lifestyle until her children were grown.Barbara's Family

Barbara gave up smoking in 1993 and began nightly walks that evolved into short runs from light post to light post or tree to tree. In 1997 Barbara was persuaded to participate on a Lanier Business Products company team that entered the Corporate Challenge 3.5 mile walk/run in Atlanta. She enjoyed the venture and began to participate in nearby 5K races with friends.  By chance, she picked up a Georgia Runner magazine and was surprised to see herself listed in her age group….with points for the races in which she had participated.  She made friends among the running circuit and began to look forward to Saturday morning races.  After four years of running 5K  races, Barbara ventured into marathons, marveling at the participation of Kathy Givens and Anne Patrick in the Ronald Reagan Marathon (the last full marathon at the Ronald Reagan in 2001). Her first marathon was the Museum of Aviation Marathon at Warner Robbins AFB in 2002, followed by one in her native Berlin, Germany, the Nashville Country Music Marathon, the New York City Marathon, another in Washington, DC and in the Atlanta Marathon twice.  She experienced extreme pain in her lower stomach the last six miles of her last Atlanta Marathon in March 2008 that continued when she participated in the Sweetwater Park (Douglasville) Cross Country Half Marathon.

This led Barbara to seek medical attention.  Tests led to a diagnosis of stage three ovarian cancer that had spread to her colon and liver.  Barbara was shocked, as she had no family history of cancer or illness.  Barbara underwent a series of surgeries in May 2008, where attending physicians concurred that she would not have survived had her body not been in such good shape. Nevertheless, she lost forty pounds during this period.  Barbara was encouraged to run again after six months of chemo treatment and did so, almost regaining her pre-cancer stride, only to have the disease resurface in April 2010.  The second round of surgeries, chemo, and hair-loss proved a more difficult recovery.  Barbara still participates running events and has been “overwhelmed” with friends who always wish her well.  Barbara undergoes maintenance chemo treatments every three weeks and appreciates life more than most of us.  She treasures the memories of her seven marathons and twenty-six half marathons, although she knows doing another half is a distant dream.

Bob checking out, from the back of the pack.  Look for the March profile on Athens high achiever David Eckles and the April profile on south Georgia race promoter, Brenda Gail Wall.

Monday
Feb202012

Profile on Daryle Worley

Daryle Worley was born on 08 December 1931 in Baltimore, Maryland.  His parents relocated to Richmond, Virginia where Daryle attended public school, graduating from Thomas Jefferson High.  Daryle excelled in extracurricular activities such as track and tennis. Darlye played cornet in the band for four years.  This was his real passion.  In 1955, Darlye graduated from Toccoa Falls College located in Toccoa GA.  That is where he earned his BA in Religious Education. Never a wallflower, Daryle played basketball, fast pitch softball and was student director.  He was also the soloist for the college concert choir.  His education continued, earning a B.M. in voice performance in 1959 at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).  While there,  Daryle was a soloist with the concert choir, student director of the Madrigal Singers and a member of the university opera workshop.  His career as a professional student culminated with earning a M.M. degree from VCU in voice performance with a minor in Pedagogy in 1960.

Daryle’s career as an educator began as a faculty member at Toccoa Falls College with vocal/choral responsibilities.  Daryle thought briefly about securing a PH.D. until he learned that in Toccoa, GA that stood for post hole digger. Daryle accepted a position on the music faculty at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee where he remained from 1963 to 1968, directing the college concert choir and Madrigal Singers.  Daryle moved to Harrogate, Tennessee in 1968, accepting a position at Lincoln Memorial University as voice choral professor.  Daryle organized concert tours for the school concert choir and produced oratorio as well as opera performances. Ever the singing gypsy, Daryle accepted a position as voice choral instructor at Cedarville College in Cedarville, Ohio where he directed the Oratorio Chorus and Orchestra.  Seeking a challenge, Daryle organized a music department at the nearby private six-year Christian Academy in nearby Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. There his duties included directing the concert choir, the chamber singers and the high school and middle school concert bands. His academic career concluded with a fifteen year stint as vocal choir instructor at Toccoa Falls College, where he directed concert choir, chamber singers, ladies ensemble and oratorio chorus.  Daryle taught private voice at each of the colleges where he served on the faculty.     

For over forty years, Daryle’s accomplishments included serving as minister of music at various churches in the communities where he taught.  He presently is a member of the Chancel Choir at First Baptist Church of Toccoa.  Daryle finds time to sing in an audition chorus which rehearses in Clemson, South Carolina.  Daryle has performed for three state governors and with three civic opera societies. His most sterling accomplishment is siring two children, a daughter and son, with his wife Lois of fifty-four years (a volunteer at many race finish areas).  Their daughter is an RN married to a physician.  They have five children, three of whom are runners.  The lone great grandson, a super addition to the family, is the son of their daughter’s oldest son and is, in Daryle’s opinion, “an impressive runner.”  Daryle and Lois’s son is a pastor in Illinois who has four children.  Daryle III is also an accomplished cross country runner and track performer.  Takes one to know one!

Daryle started running in 1968 when he “could not see his feet” at over two hundred pounds. Daryle acknowledges that he is not very fast now but true to his life, “faithful.”  He still has a brisk pace for a man ten years younger (I ought to know).  Daryle credits the running family with keeping him active.  He is also competitive, being one of the top point achievers for his age group six of the previous eight years.  Daryle is so low key few of the running communities usual suspects know his pedigree and all of us hope we can perform as well as Daryle at age eighty!

Bob, checking out from the back of the pack.  Look for the February profile on cancer survivor Barbara Conley and in March on one of UGA’s staff’s top dawg, David Eckles.

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