Sunday, May 15, 2011


This post isn't going to be all about me running yesterday's marathon. I'll save that for another day. This is going to be about one of the nicest, funniest, fun-loving, most happy-go-lucky guys I've ever met ...

On the way from St. Joe to the marathon start at Holdingford Saturday morning

I've got to preface the story with a few words about my marathon fiasco yesterday. You'll understand why.

I powered on my GPS at the high school just as we were heading out to the parking lot onto to see LOW BATTERY displayed on the screen. Just another thing that'd gone wrong. Usually I can get a couple of hours out of a low battery, but the unit completely died before I'd even left the parking lot. I'd run three miles (one each Wed, Thurs and Fri) since the last charge. So I was going to run this thing with no idea of pace or time. But there was nothing I could do about it (other than add "backup watch" to my marathon checklist, should I choose to try this again). I'd just have to run comfortably and let the chips fall where they may.

I did get 4 splits ... mile 1 was 7:47 after a nice downhill. Rick and his pace group were with me at mile 3 so I asked him the time (24:10). There was a gal at the half and when I asked her the running time, she said her device was non-functional but it was 8:50 AM (so 1:50 for the half). I didn't get another split until I saw 3 guys right at mile 22 and so I asked them the time and told them my GPS stopped in the school parking lot. The running time was 3:14. My thought ... I sure hoped Melby was done as he was in the shape of his life and was going for a BQ and I wanted that for him more than anything else for the day. If it'd been possible, I'd have taken a DNF for myself if that would have somehow given Melby a BQ. Little did I know that Paul was finishing the marathon at 3:14, earning him a huge new PR and his coveted BQ.

Long story short, when I got to the finish I found out some tragic news. One of our own had gone down right at the finish and was at the hospital. It was Melby. I was devastated. Sitting in the shelter trying to choke down a piece of pizza, I started crying. All I could think about was Melby. How could this have happened? Why him? Why not me? He just had to be OK. It just couldn't be any other way. When I found out we'd lost him, I was beside myself with shock, grief. I just started sobbing and I couldn't stop. I arrived at the hospital and there were other Rochester runners there and others arrived after I got there. I chose to stay until Paul's wife got there and I'm so glad I did. It was the right decision. My heart was and is breaking for her ... for their kids ... Paul's parents ... and the many, many friends he's left behind. He was one of the best ... he was everybody's friend. And we are REALLY going to miss him. I have been changed for the better having known Paul ... and my little world is also changed having lost him.

I am crying again as I write this ... we love you Paul.

Oxbow Park, summer 2010
Melby garage, summer 2010

TC10, October 2010

TC10, summer 2010
TC10, summer 2010

Med-City half marathon, 2010

Silver lake, winter 2010/2011

Fetzer 20K, April 9, 2010

Fetzer 20K, April 9, 2010


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry you lost a friend. My thoughts are with his wife and children.


Anonymous said...

I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your friend, and for his family! I know how close running friends are, they are just like family. Please send my sympathies, to you, your running family, and his wife and kids.
deb b.

Me said...

What nice thoughts you have on Paul and his family.

Thanks for sharing them with us. I found your blog and shared it with the other teachers here in Oklee, some of which were here when Paul was a student.

What a comfort to them to see Paul's crooked smile -

Thanks for sharing-


Anonymous said...


I ran the Lake Wobegon Marathon along with a couple of my buddies and we were all stunned and saddened to hear that Paul died.

I hope you don't mind, but I have provided this blog link along with information on donations for the Melby family on our MN Running Wild Facebook page. While none of us knew Paul we all feel the difficulty of the loss and wish to send our collective condolences to all of Paul's friends and family.

Don Sullivan

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