Remembering a special friend and triathlete

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Another Melmerby Triathlon completed, another time to remember Paul MacDonald.

It has been nine years since Paul left us physically, but this year’s Paul MacDonald Memorial Award makes it 10 names on the plaque awarded to a local Olympic distance triathlon finisher who competes for friendship and fitness.

This year’s recipient, Robert Roper from Trenton, has been competing for just a few years, but has made many friends along the way. Robert has been known to be very encouraging to other athletes, just as Paul was.

Chris DeYoung said it was Fred MacDonald, also from Trenton, who helped Roper with his training. Fred knew Paul well as they trained and hung out together quite often over the years.

"Growing up together in Trenton, it was also Paul who encouraged me to get involved in running and the triathlon,” said DeYoung. “We were teammates in basketball over the years and we became close friends doing long hours of training for road races and triathlons.”

Janet Purdy (MacDonald) and DeYoung hope to keep Paul's memory alive for many years to come through the memorial award, which is presented annually as part of the Melmerby Triathlon.

“It's a great time of the year to just tell stories about him and the kind of guy he was,” said DeYoung. “The award plaque hangs outside the locker rooms at the Pictou County YMCA and all who have won it have expressed what a special honour it is to be associated with Paul and what the award stands for. It's not for first place, but for a special kind of athlete and person, which Paul certainly was.” 

Although Paul finished top local (sixth overall) one year, he didn’t care for the attention it got him. He said he was only doing it for the training and 'the big party' afterward.

All who knew Paul will never forget his grin and special character that has so many triathlon people saying this time of year, including Fred, “I miss that guy.”

Organizations: MacDonald, Pictou County YMCA

Geographic location: Trenton

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