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Georgia’s trusted leader in radiologyIn radiology, it’s one thing to see; it’s another to understand. Northside’s expert team of board-certifiedradiologists and sub-specialists are trained extensively to interpret general to specialized imaging—from pediatricMRI to digital mammography and interventional radiology of the spine. We combine exceptional care and thelatest technologies, bringing our expertise to convenient locations throughout your community.Visit us online at

221612COVER STORY16 GRIZZLY GREAT DAY OF GIVINGDEPARTMENTS6 From the Publisher10 Paparazzi24 More Paparazzi28 History Made Easy:Watson Mill Bridge4CountyLine | July 2011

2830268FEATURES8 It’s the Climb…12 In Honor Of22 Seven Continents Marathon Man26 Forsyth County Schools’ 2011 Teacher of the Year30 Long Time Learner & TeacherCOUNTYLINE COMMUNITY15 Emory Johns Creek Hospital’sHealth Festival and 5K Scrub Run5 CountyLine | July 2011

From the PublisherOn May 12 th , the students and staff at Piney Grove Middle School(PGMS) joined with parent and community business volunteers for aday of service. The “Grizzly Great Day of Giving” (G3) was a successfor the 50 service project locations, and it was a day of givingthat made a positive impact on everyone who participated. I knowyou’ll enjoy reading about the planning that went into this day and themany volunteer activities that took place on G3 day. Congratulationsto Principal Terri North, the students and staff at PGMS, and the manyvolunteers, who made a tremendous impact on the community withthis day of giving.Nanda Gulve took up hiking as an activity to fill the emptiness in herlife when her twin daughters left for college, but she never thoughtthat this new hobby would take her to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro! Readabout how Nanda went from novice hiker to climbing the highest freestandingmountain in the world.This year, the Will Davison Memorial Scholarships were given to LindsayBurnell of South Forsyth High School and Allie Schaich of LambertHigh School. The Brian Parks Scholarship was presented to ChantelWoods of South Forsyth High School. Read about these very special scholarships, those who gavethem, and why they are given out in honor of Will Davison and Brian Parks.Mark Hall is a dedicated marathon runner, and he loves to travel. Combine the two, and you have aman who is well on his way to completing seven marathons—one on each continent—as a member ofthe Seven Continents Club. Read about what led Mark to take on this goal and which continents hehas conquered. Congratulations, Mark, and we’ll be waiting to hear that you are a Seven ContinentsFinisher!Congratulations to Lambert High School English teacher Natalie Kitchen, who is Forsyth CountySchools’ 2011 Teacher of the Year. When you find out more about what motivates Natalie, and everythingthat she contributes to the education of her students, you’ll know why she received thisincredible honor.History Made Easy lovers will enjoy this issue’s editorial on Watson Mill Bridge. Built in 1885 by W.W.King, this historic structure has a connection to pre-civil war history. Consider taking a day trip tosee this bridge that spans 229 feet across the South Fork River, and enjoy visiting Watson Mill BridgeState Park.I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Riverwatch Middle School student Madeline Laguaite, as sheworked on her editorial about her favorite teacher, Kimberly Geralds. Thank you Madeline for contributingto this issue as a CountyLine intern, and keep up the great writing!Enjoy the reading, enjoy the photos, and enjoy this issue of CountyLine.Respectfully,Judy Le JeunePublisher6CountyLine | July 2011

AUD 3229 County Line ad June2011:Layout 15/2/11 12:23 PMSet Yourself FreePublisherJudy Le Jeunepublisher@countylinemagazine.net678-787-3551Editorialeditorial@countylinemagazine.netAdvertisingadvertising@countylinemagazine.net678-787-3551Graphic DesignRegina Thompson DesignWritersLiz BennettKaren DuffyDaniel GlennMadeline LaguaiteCover PhotographyMark NajjarAtlanta StudiosPhotographyLiz BennettCourtesy of Nanda GulveCourtesy of Mark HallMelissa RodriguezDon’t let hearing loss shut youout from family, friends and life.Emory Audiology & Hearing Aid Center at Johns Creekprovides the most innovative treatment options to improvehearing. On-site audiology services are provided by a certifiedlicensed audiologist who is trained to assess hearing disordersand determine appropriate treatment options for hearing loss.If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, take thefirst step and schedule an appointment.• Do people seem to mumble?• Do you frequently need to ask people to repeat themselves?• Is it difficult for you to follow conversations?• Do you need to turn up the volume on your TV or radio?• Is carrying on a telephone conversation difficult?For appointments or to register for upcomingeducational seminars, please call 770-814-1260.4045 Johns Creek Parkway, Suite B • SuwaneeOn the Cover:Piney Grove Middle School’sGrizzly Great Day of GivingCountyLine is published by Sugarcane Communications, LLC.No advertising, editorial, or photographs in CountyLine may bereproduced without the permission of Sugarcane Communications, LLC.CountyLine3651 Peachtree Parkway Suite 222Suwanee, GA 30024678-787-3551www.countylinemagazine.netOther locations include Emory UniversityHospital Midtown and The Emory Clinicon the Emory University campus.4045 Johns Creek Parkway, Suite B • Suwaneewww.emoryhealthcare.orgAdvancing the Possibilities®7 CountyLine | July 2011

IT’S THECLIMB…by Judy Le Jeunephotography courtesy of Nanda GulveNanda Gulve and her husband, Salil, have lived inJohns Creek for 16 years. They moved here whentheir twin girls, Renu and Preeti, were just fouryears-old.A software programmer, Nanda spentevery minute that she wasn’t at work delighted toparticipate in the girls’ school and extra-curricularactivities. So, two years ago, when Renu and Preetigraduated from Northview and left to start collegeat UGA and Georgia State, Nanda found herselfwith a huge void that was filled with sadnessinstead of the girls’ activities. “I spent the first fewmonths, after the girls left for college, missing themso much,” said Nanda. “I knew that I needed to fillthe void with activities for myself.” Nanda decidedto join a group of her friends, who hiked togetheron weekends. Her first hike was Amicalola Falls, andshe continued on to other climbs—Springer and BrazeltonMountains—with the group of 18 friends, whowere preparing to take on Pikes Peak. In addition tohiking with the group at least two weekends everymonth, Nanda worked on getting in better shapeby walking, eventually increasing the distance to 10miles.In July 2009, Nanda and the group of hikers tookon the two-day hike to the 14,111 feet top of PikesPeak. It was on this trip that one of the members ofthe group suggested, “Next, we should do Kilimanjaro.”A year and a half later, Nanda found herselfboarding a plane to Tanzania as one of nine hikersfrom her group, who were part of this adventure.Mt. Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa andis the highest free-standing mountain in the world.Known as the “top of Africa,” the highest point of Mt.Kilimanjaro is Uhuru Peak at an elevation of 19,340feet. Every year, around 25,000 people attempt therigorous climb to reach the top. Only 30% actuallyreach the Uhuru summit, with the majority of climbersturning around at Gilman’s Point (300 metersshort of Uhuru) or Stella Point (200 meters shortof Uhuru)—approximately 5% die while trying. Altitude-relatedproblems are the most common reasonthat climbers don’t make it to the top. Moshi, a townon Mt. Kilimanjaro that is at an elevation of 15,300feet, is the most common location used as a basecamp for hikers making their final ascent.8CountyLine | July 2011

There are six routes that climbers can use to reach the top, and the guided tour that accompaniedNanda’s group, took them on the Lemosho Glades route. Though not used asoften as other routes, it was recommended because it is less congested and has breathtakingscenic views. On the first day, Nanda’s hiking group—comprised of six men and threewomen—began their climb at around 2pm, along with their guides, those who carried30-40 pound packs of supplies, food and the tents, and the chefs. The rest of their daysstarted at 8am and ended at the camp in the late afternoonor early evening. The weather during their hike was good—temperatures during the day were in the 60s and between30 and 40 degrees at night.“I’m not a patient person,” said Nanda. “But, we were toldover-and-over that hiking slowly was the key to success.Our guides told us ‘Pole, Pole,’ which means ‘Slow, Slow’in Swahili. We were told that going slowly would help us toavoid getting sick from the altitude and lower oxygen levels,and I listened to that advice.” Word of two deaths, duringthe time that Nanda and her group were attempting to makeit to the top, spread very quickly among everyone on themountain. A 25-year-old girl and the father of a father/sonteam both died. This was very disturbing news for everyonewho was in the process of trying to make it to the top.Nanda’s biggest challenge came on Day 5 when she foundherself facing Baranaco Wall, a steep wall of rock that shehad to climb to continue. “This was the point when I haddoubt that I would be able to make it,” said Nanda. “Nobodyhad mentioned this wall, and it looked impossible to climb.It was a vertical, smooth, enormous wall.” With encouragementand help from her group, Nanda conquered the walland continued her climb to the top.On the final day, five members of the group turned aroundand returned to the base camp because their oxygen levelwas too low for them to continue. Nanda and three menfrom her group continued on to climb the 4,100 feet thatwould bring them to the top. The three men were climbing faster than Nanda and went onahead, leaving her with her guide, Abu, who continually checked Nanda’s eyes, the colorof her skin, and asked her how she was feeling. At about 11am, Nanda and Abu reachedStella Point, which is about 30 minutes to an hour from the top. Nanda continued to climband passed the 3 hikers from her group, who had reached the top and were returning tothe base camp on their way down. “At this point—when I knew that there was such a shortdistance left to the top—I felt an incredible surge of energy,” Nanda commented. And, withincredible patience and will power, Nanda reached the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. “I cannotexpress in words how it felt to be standing at Ohuru Point. The view of the valley on oneside and the glacier on the other were spectacular. The feeling of what I had accomplishedwas truly indescribable.”What began as an activity to fill the void when her daughters left for college, culminatedwith an incredible accomplishment for Nanda Gulve. “When I joined my friends to hike AmicalolaFalls, I never considered that it would lead me to reach the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro,”said Nanda. “I know that without the support of my group, I would not have made it. I amthankful to them for introducing me to hiking, which has turned out to be a true passionfor me, but most of all, I thank them for their support during our climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro.”9 CountyLine | July 2011


In Honor Ofby Judy Le JeuneScholarships are awarded to high school seniors for many different accomplishments and are based ona wide variety of criteria. The Will Davison Memorial Scholarship and the Brian Parks Scholarship areawarded in honor of Will Davison, who passed away four years ago at four-months-old, and Brian Parks,who passed away on February 24 th when he was twenty-years-old. This is the fourth year that the Davison familyhas awarded the Will Davison Memorial Scholarship—one to a senior at each of the five Forsyth County highschools—and the first year that DECA at South Forsyth High School (SFHS), in conjunction with Andrea Hutchinson,Brian’s mother, Brittany Stribling, Brian’s sister, and the Estep Foundation, awarded this scholarship to aSFHS DECA member. What these two scholarships share in common is that they are both awarded, with love,in memory of, and in honor of two individuals who did not have the opportunity to contribute their full potentialof good qualities during their lives. It is the hope of the Davison family, Andrea Hutchinson, Brittany Stribling,Debra Moore of DECA at SFHS, and the Esteps that the students who are the recipients of these scholarships willmake contributions to society that honor the memory of Will Davison and Brian Parks.THE WILL DAVISON MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIPAfter Will Davison passed away from SIDS, his parentsGary and Jinger, founded the Will Davison MemorialScholarship Fund to award scholarships toseniors from Forsyth County high schools that arepursuing a degree in a field that is helpful to othersand a career in a profession of service. Studentsapplying for the Will Davison Memorial Scholarshipmust be a senior in good standing with a minimum2.8 GPA. A personal essay, resume, transcript, andthree letters of recommendation are submitted withthe application. Recipients are chosen by a selectioncommittee comprised of the Foundation’s Boardof Directors. To date, over $40,000 in scholarshipfunds have been award to 22 recipients.This year, the $1,000 scholarship at South ForsythHigh School was awarded to Lindsay Burnell. Shewill be attending Georgia Southern University andwill double major in Education and either Psychologyor Photography. Following graduation from college,Lindsay plans to teach in Ndola, Zambia and thenreturn to Forsyth County to teach and coachlacrosse. “Being honored with this award, I am bothblessed and greatly appreciative,” said Lindsay. “Dr.Gracie, Jinger, Will & Gary DavisonDavison, who was my principal for two years atSouth, has always left a mark on both me and ourcommunity. It is an honor to receive this award, notonly because it helps me, but it also shares withothers the impact a child has on the world. As muchas I am grateful to receive the scholarship, I amprivileged to be entrusted with Will’s legacy.”12CountyLine | July 2011

The recipient of the $5,500 scholarship at LambertHigh School, that included additional funds raisedby Lambert staff and students, was Allie Schaich.She will be attending Rice University, majoring inBiology, and is planning to become a doctor. Aftergraduating from college, Allie plans to volunteerher services in third world countries. “I am veryhumbled to receive this scholarship,” said Allie. “Thefact that the Davisons have turned their loss into anopportunity to give to others shows what amazingpeople they are. I am very thankful for this scholarshipand hope to make them proud of my achievementsin college. In the future, I know that I wantto be able to give back to the foundation.”The Davisons are hopeful that their six-year-olddaughter, Gracie, will take an active part in theFoundation in the future. They are looking forwardto next year’s scholarship awards when the recipientsof the first year’s scholarships will return fromtheir college graduations to be a part of the presentationof the scholarships awarded to next year’srecipients.Lindsay Burnell, Gary, Gracie & Jinger DavisonGracie, Jinger & Gary Davison, Allie SchaichTHE BRIAN PARKS SCHOLARSHIPA few months before his 18 th birthday, Brian Parkswas diagnosed with an inoperable, malignant braintumor. For the next two and a half years, Brian livedevery day as if it was his last, with the utmost courageand dignity, and he never, ever, ever gave up.At the time of Brian’s passing, South Forsyth HighSchool DECA Advisor Debra Moore, approached Brian’smother, Andrea, with the idea of awarding ascholarship, in Brian’s name, to a senior member ofDECA. Andrea was planning to start a foundation inBrian’s honor that would give scholarships as a partof its contributions. The Esteps, who have been activein contributing to DECA at South also wanted toparticipate, and planning began for the first BrianParks Scholarship. “The Brian Parks scholarship hasbeen created to award students that have overcomeadversity or have helped someone else defeat anodd that they were up against,” said Andrea. “Theidea of this scholarship is pressed upon the mindsetthat Brian exuded, which was that he saw nobarriers to his world and expected the same fromothers.” In addition to having a minimum 3.0 GPA,submitting the application with two letters of recommendation,and interviewing with the selectionAndrea Hutchinson, Brian Parks, Brittany Striblingcommittee, candidates applying for this scholarshipwere expected to have demonstrated a concern forothers with empathy and compassion.Chantel Woods was awarded the first Brian ParksScholarship. She will be attending Middle GeorgiaCollege and plans to study nursing. “Being the firstperson to receive the Brian Parks Scholarship, andthe fact that this scholarship is in Brian’s name,means the world to me,” said Chantel. “Brian is a13 CountyLine | July 2011

very special person who means everything to meand has a special place in my heart. I am verythankful and happy to receive this scholarship, and Iwould like to thank Brian, his family, DECA at SouthForsyth and the Esteps for giving me this wonderfulopportunity.”The Brian Parks Foundation is currently applying for501(c) 3 non-profit status and hopes to be able toexpand scholarship opportunities to additional highschools next year. Brian was an active member ofDECA at South Forsyth High School, and the organizationwill continue to support the Brian Parks Foundation.Andrea and Brian’s sister, Brittany, continueto honor Brian through the Foundation.Andrea Hutchinson, Chantel Woods, Brittany Stribling, Debra MooreFor more information on the Will Davison Memorial Scholarship, visit:www.willdavisonmemorial.comFor more information on the Brian Parks Scholarship, or call: 678-437-5305For all your skin care needs• Diagnosis & Treatment of Skin Cancer• Treatment of Skin, Hair Loss, Nail Diseases, Acne,Warts, Moles, Psoriasis, Eczema, etc.• Vbeam Vascular Laser for Rosacea andTreatment of Leg and Facial Veins• Laser Hair Removal (All Skin Types)• Sclerotherapy for Fine Leg Veins• Botox, Dysport, Latisse, Restylane, Radiesse,Juvederm & Chemical PeelsGabrielle M. Sabini, MD • Charles J. Douchy, MDMatthew J. Reschly, MD • A. Damian Dhar, MDAnjana M. Patel, PA-C • Sara A. Barr, PA-C • Tracy Friedman, PA-CMelinda MacKenzie, PA-C • Stacey Oliver, PA-CAll Board Certified6610 McGinnis Ferry Rd.Suite 200Johns Creek, GA 30097(Behind Panera Bread& Community Bank)3850 Pleasant Hill Rd.Duluth, GA 30096(Between Peachtree Industrial& Buford Highway)3331 Hamilton Mill Rd.Suite 1106Buford, GA 30519(Across from theKroger Shopping Center)North AtlantaDermatologyAdult & Pediatric Dermatologywww.northatlantaderm.com770.814.822214CountyLine | July 2011

may 2011To inquire about advertising in 678-787-3551BriaN DUFFYFOUNDEralS rUN FOr liFE 5KMAYOR MIKE BODKERAND THEJOHNS CREEK CITY COUNCILDan McCabe, Kelly Stewart, Randall Johnson, Bev MillerKaren Richardson, Mike Bodker, Ivan FigueroaPhotographed in the lobby ofthe Women’s CenterLynn JacksonAdministratorNorthside Hospital-ForsythAdvertise in CountyLineand reach over 50,000potential buyers or clients.This issue of CountyLine was mailbox delivered to 23,036homes and businesses in Johns Creek and South Forsyth.With editorials about people who live, work or own abusiness in these communities, CountyLine is read and keptby those who receive it. The mailbox delivery, interestingand informative editorial, and high quality printing all assurethat those who get CountyLine, keep CountyLine, giving themagazine an incredibly extended shelf-life. Your ad will beseen over-and-over.june 2011Challenging, Lecture-basedMath and English Classes— 1 st -12 th Grade Levels —SAT Intensive Summer Programs – Math and EnglishSAT-PSAT-ACT Prep ClassesAP Prep Classes – Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, World History, US History• Multimedia interactive teaching environment• Strategies and tactics increase problem solvingskills, critical reading & writing skills• Competition training-Our students have consistentlywon Regional, State & National Competitions,including AMC, Mathcounts, and Math Olympiad.Math Instructor - James Chen, Ph.D.(Math) has over 10 years of classroomteaching experience.English Instructors - Language Artsteachers are from local, high-rankinghigh schools.404-388-630310475 Medlock Bridge Rd. Suite 500Johns Creek 30097www.AlltopSchool.com2011 Emory Johns Creek Hospital’s CommunityHEALTH FESTIVAL AND 5K SCRUB RUNOn Saturday, May 21 st , Emory Johns Creek Hospital (EJCH) held its 3 rd annualHealth Festival, and this year, they kicked off the morning by adding the first5K Scrub Run. A very healthy way to start the day, over 200 runners from the community—includingmore than 20 patients from EJCH’s Atlanta Bariatric Center—participated in the run for a lot of fun and great exercise. “I am so excited aboutthe success of our first 5K Scrub Run and am looking forward to it being even biggernext year,” commented Kendra Gerlach, director of marketing and public relationsat EJCH. The proceeds from the 5K were donated to the cross country teamat Northview High School. Students from the cross country team helped organizeand volunteered at the 5K Scrub Run.Bariatric patients cheer theirparticipation in the 5K Scrub RunVendors and medical practitioners—from obstetrics and gynecology specialists todentists and orthodontists—were available to talk with those attending the Festivalabout their specialties and services and give complimentary evaluations. Therewere also complimentary blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, and bone densityscreenings.Craig McCoy, who joined the EJCH staff as their chief executive officer earlier thatweek, thoroughly enjoyed attending the Health Festival and meeting people fromthe EJCH community. This year’s Health Festival and 5K Scrub Run was a veryhealthy, informative and fun morning for all.For information on EJCH, visit http

PGMS students, staff and volunteers with the opportunity to give through serviceprojects. “It is within these five areas that we continually strive to createquality opportunities for our students that allow them to unlock the potentialwithin themselves,” shared Principal Terri North. “Our school has seen the impactof our local United Way’s ‘Day of Caring’ adult service activities on ourcommunity and thought, why not replicate that for our 1,100 staff members andstudents? We want our students to learn outside the walls of their school andgrow their servant leadership skills.” The inaugural “Grizzly Great Day of Giving”was a huge step towards expanding the Altruistic Endeavors aspect of the FiveAs and an opportunity for all who participated to experience the full meaning ofgiving through volunteering.Last October, G3 Day’s steering committee, comprised of staff, parents andstudents, met to kick off the plans for the event. For months prior to G3 Day,in addition to extensive planning by PGMS staff and community volunteers toorganize the logistics, select volunteer locations and activities, and preparefor the events that would take place on May 12 th , PGMS students—known as“Grizzlies” for their school mascot, Grizzly— were also busy with activities to raisefunds and prepare for G3 day. The Beta Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes,and Student Government hosted three Spirit Nights at local restaurants to raisemoney that would be donated to local charities. The week before G3 Day, Ms.Heather Galligan and Mr. Mitch Lesinski’s homeroom classes collected fooditems that students brought in for the Food Drive. Donations were also collectedduring student-organized neighborhood and store-front food drives. On G3 Day,the students sorted andfilled 620 bags with foodthat was donated to thefood pantry of The Place ofForsyth County.Above: Food Drive Coordinators Pete & Tracy Spehr,Principal Terri North, G3 Chair Therese Batson, AssociateSuperintendent Lissa Pijanowski.Left: 620 bags of food were donated to The Place ofForsyth County.17 CountyLine | July 2011

An artwork contest to select the design that would beused on the G3 Day t-shirts was held, and 7 th graderKaren Shen won 1 st place and the honor of having herdesign on the t-shirts that were proudly worn by allstudents, staff and volunteers.The day of service began at 9:30am when 1167 student, staff, and parent andcommunity volunteers boarded the buses that took them to their charitableor non-profit organization destination. With 50 volunteer locations, there wasan overwhelming amount accomplished during the two-hours of service. Someof the many volunteer services included: 2,500 sets of silverware that werewrapped and donated to Hosea Feed the Hungry, 25 audio books that wererecorded for children and donated to Family Haven, 400 toiletry kits that wereassembled and donated to the Atlanta Mission, and 1,000 pounds of rice andbeans that were packaged and donated to St. Joseph’s Food Pantry.Ms. Martha Rodriguez-Gregg’s homeroom class, Mr. Robert Oswald’s homeroomclass, and Mr. Wilson Sessions’ homeroom class boarded buses that took themto the locations where they spent two hours volunteering.Emory Johns Creek HospitalMs. Martha Rodriguez-Gregg’s 6 th grade homeroom class went to Emory JohnsCreek Hospital (EJCH) to make love-knot fleece blankets that will be given tochildren when they arrive in the emergency room of the hospital. The studentsselected a piece of fleece, cut the edges of the material into strips, and knottedthe strips together to make these beautiful blankets that will bring warmth andcomfort to other children.The students made love-knot fleece blankets to comfort children when they arrive at the emergencyroom at EJCH.18CountyLine | July 2011

Be Green and SaveNow is the Time to Fill in Thin,Washed Out or Worn Areas in Your Lawn!We install and sell Bermuda & Zoysia sod by the piece or the pallet.— We have Shade-Tolerant Bermuda Sod —CYPRESS MULCH RIVER ROCK BERMUDA & ZOYSIA SOD RED MULCHHardwood Mulch • Colored Mulch • Boulders • Top SoilRiver Sand • Pea Gravel • Egg Rock • Pine Straw • Stepping StonesCut-Stone Steps • Flagstone • River Rock • Cross TiesDO IT YOURSELF OR HAVE US DELIVER AND INSTALLSmall or Large…We Have What You Need to Conquer Your Yard!Robersion’s All GreenLandscape Supply Yard770-844-1937Turn Your Ordinary Backyard into a Landscaped Paradise!The experts at Robersion’s will design and plant your dream landscape.Drainage and Erosion Control & Correction • 6 x 6 Pressure-Treated Timber WallsSink Holes Filled • Dry Creek Beds • Tree Cutting • Top Dressing • MulchRobersion’s LandscapingLandscape Design • Consultation • Installation770-886-04021732 Peachtree ParkwayMonday-Friday 7am-4pm Saturday 8am-2pmServing Forsyth & Fulton Counties Since 1991 • Locally Owned and Operated • www.robersions.com21 CountyLine | July 2011

SEVEN CONTINENTSMARATHON MANby Karen Duffyphotography by Judy Le Jeuneand courtesy of Mark HallJohns Creek resident, Mark Hall ran track in highschool, specializing in the half-mile and one-miledistances. He had a job and normally got off workfor track meets, but one time he was unable to misswork. The two-mile event was first, and Mark knewthat if he ran it, he could still make it to work on time.He finished, but said he would never run that distanceagain.years later, Mark was in the Navy and stationed atthe Naval Submarine Base in Connecticut. Knowingthat his fitness level was better due to his militaryconditioning, he decided to run in a five-mile race onthe base. This time it wasn’t so awful—in fact, Markenjoyed it. Most people would have used that goodexperience to set goals and increase running distancesover time. Well, Mark Hall is not like most people.He decided to tackle a marathon (26.2 miles), and in1994 completed one in Columbus, Ohio. He trainedand felt prepared on race day, only to get to mile 16and feel awful. Mark finished his first marathon thatday, but did not reach his goal finish time. A secondmarathon left him with basically the same results,and Mark knew he needed to change his approach.Marathon training takes dedication. The physiologicaland psychological demands are extreme. Typically,runners will adopt an 18-week training plan, andthe weekly running mileage can be as high as 50 to70 miles. Mark trains five days a week—four days ofaerobic exercise and one day of strength training. Asoftware consultant who travels each week for work,Mark adapts his training around his travel schedule.“I know that my long runs need to be on the weekendwhen I’m at home and can get out early in the morning,”reveals Mark. “Monday and Friday are normallytravel days, so that leaves Tuesday, Wednesday, andThursday for the rest of my training.”Mark and his wife, Peggy, share a passion for travelingand often combine vacations with marathons.When Peggy doesn’t accompany Mark on a trip, shestays busy working as a professional career coach.She is also President of the Board of the Johns CreekSymphony Orchestra and a recent graduate of LeadershipJohns Creek. A few years ago, Mark and Peggytook their combined passions of travel and runningglobal. In November 2009, Mark ran the Athens ClassicMarathon in Greece. It was his first marathon outsideof the United States, and Mark was impressed athow unique it was to experience the world from the22CountyLine | July 2011

viewpoint of a marathon runner. “Running in Greece and finishingin the Olympic stadium used for the first modern Olympics in1896 was special.” The experience ignited a quest within Mark torun marathons around the world. He came upon the Seven ContinentsClub, founded by Thom Gillian, President of Marathon Toursand Travel, which specializes in offering travel services to runnersand their friends to the world’s best running events on all sevencontinents.With marathons on two continents completed (North America andEurope), Mark set out to conquer the remaining five. His plan wasto complete two marathons per year outside of the United States.In 2010, Mark ran the San Paulo International Marathon in Brazil,South America. It was a short trip, with Mark arriving the eveningprior to the marathon and flying back home within hours of crossingthe finish line. “Running a marathon in other countries whereyou don’t speak the language can bring on unique adventures,”shares Mark. “One of the things I enjoy about traveling to otherparts of the globe to compete in a marathon is the instant accessyou have to locals who become great travel consultants. Sharingthe runners’ bond, you are instantly a part of a circle.” Sixmonths after Brazil, Mark ran the Westlink M7 Cities Marathon inSydney, Australia. Peggy joined him for the journey to Australia,where they combined vacation with racing and were able to visitthe Great Barrier Reef. “Whether she is able to come with me orhas to stay behind, Peggy is my biggest supporter in completing amarathon in all seven continents.”On February 28, 2011, Mark ran the Antarctica Marathon, markingthe fifth continent on his list. Antarctica is known as the darkest,windiest, iciest, and most remote continent on earth, and the 26.2mile course is held on gravel roads that connect the scientific researchbases of Uruguay, Chili, China, and Russia on King GeorgeIsland, just off the Antarctic Peninsula. Participants journey byland, air, and sea to get to the start line. To prepare for the race,Mark ran on muddy trails and in snow and slush last winter. Hisplan was wise because the course was indeed slushy and muddythroughout, but the scenery was beautiful. “The beauty of the pristine environment of Antarctica wasbreathtaking. There were wisps of clouds hugging the snow and ice capped mountains. Enormous icestructures glowed with a rich blue color pressed into them through centuries of time.”Mark is also a coach with Team In Training (TNT), which is the world’s largest endurance sports trainingprogram. TNT athletes train and complete an endurance event while fundraising for the Lymphoma& Leukemia Society®. Reflecting on how meaningful TNT is to him, Mark says, “What makes TNTso great are the bonds that develop over a four or five month season. There is a lot of time while youare out there on the weekly runs to share stories, and the group becomes a family.” Peggy validatedMark’s coaching abilities when she completed two half-marathons in 2009 with TNT. She is also in thecurrent group Mark is coaching toward the Rock & Roll Savannah Half Marathon in October.There are two more continents left on Mark’s list. He will travel to Africa for a marathon in Novemberand to Asia in February 2012, where he will become a Seven Continents Finisher. Who knows whathis next goal will be, but one thing is certain—Mark Hall will be running, traveling, and inspiring othersalong the way. “I believe more people are capable of completing a marathon than think they can.They can make it to the finish line. All they have to do is pick an event, a realistic plan to get there,and consistently work the plan. That doesn’t mean they won’t have setbacks, but the feeling they willhave when they cross the finish line will be worth it all.”23 CountyLine | July 2011


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WATSON MILL BRIDGEby Daniel Glennphoto courtesy ofGeorgia Department of Natural ResourcesRemember The Bridges of Madison County,with Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood? Coincidentally,it takes going to a different MadisonCounty to see the longest covered bridge inGeorgia, and the trip there is idyllic enough to makeyou feel like you’re in the movies.Less than two hours from the county line, WatsonMill Bridge State Park is worth a summer day trip. Itdoesn’t take long to get away from the sometimescramped suburbs, and the pleasant drive will takeyou through a number of small towns and lovelylandscapes. The country music on the radio onlygets better the closer you get to Comer, just outsideof which is the park. Fishing is popular there,as is picnicking. There are places to camp, miles oftrail for hiking, riding or biking, and plenty of niceflat rocks if sunbathing along the South Fork of theBroad River is more your speed. Yet the main attractionis the bridge, built in 1885.By that time, according to author Roxie Munro,there were over ten thousand covered bridges inthis country. These days, perhaps a tenth of them28CountyLine | July 2011

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