Inspirational stories.

Posted by Randy Kirby on 8/16/2018

Story of the week

Runner carries injured foe half mile to help in middle of race

Josh Ripley didn't have to stop. Running in a recent cross country meet for Andover (Minn.) High, the junior varsity runner was making his way through the trail at the Applejack Invite when he heard a loud scream during the first mile of a two-mile race. Most of the other kids running didn't pay much attention to Lakeville South runner Mark Paulauskas, who was writhing in pain at the time, as they passed by.

The only person who decided to pay attention was Ripley. As an Anoka-Hennepin school district releasereported, Ripley immediately noticed Paulauskas holding his bloody ankle. Then, instead of running back and calling for help, he did the only thing he could think of: He carried the injured runner a half mile back to coaches and family members.

"I didn't think about my race, I knew I needed to stop and help him," Ripley said in the school district release. "It was something I would expect my other teammates to do. I'm nothing special; I was just in the right place at the right time."

It was a good thing Ripley had the foresight to carry Paulauskas so he could be rushed to the emergency room. When Paulauskas arrived at the hospital, doctors realized he had been accidentally spiked by another runner's shoe during the race. The injury required 20 stitches and a walking boot to keep the wounded area from opening up.

Andover cross country coach Scott Clark couldn't believe what he heard when word got to him that Ripley was carrying another runner back to the starting line.

"Then Josh comes jogging into view carrying a runner," Clark said. "I noticed the blood on the runner's ankle as Josh handed him off to one of the coaches from Lakeville. Josh was tired and you could tell his focus was off as he started back on the course."

Amazingly, the story gets even better from there.

After dropping Paulauskas off with his coaches, Ripley proceeded to go back and finish the race -- even after carrying a kid for a half mile on the running trail. Admittedly he was a bit winded, but still completed the course as scheduled.

It's safe to say the average athlete would have taken a breather and called off the rest of the race after such a harrowing and intense experience. Luckily, Ripley is clearly not the average athlete. Fittingly, he'll be honored at a school board meeting next week. Talk about an incredible example of sportsmanship.


Teen rowers give up medal dreams to help capsized foes

It's always said that high school sports are supposed to teach young athletes the value of good sportsmanship. Now we all know that at least two prep rowers from Philadelphia are listening.

As first reported by the Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia (Penn.) Episcopal Academy rowers James Konopka and Nick Mead made the ultimate sacrifice during their Under-17 doubles race at the Head of the Schuykill regatta on Sunday whenthey abandoned a promising start to help rescue two fellow competitors who had capsized.

With temperatures unseasonably cold and Philadelphia (Penn.) St. Joseph's Prep rowers Joe Leonard and Andrew Burrichter struggling with their boat and treading water in the icy river, Konopka and Mead made a snap decision to give up a promising start that could have landed them in the medals to help get the fellow high school rowers to safety, waiting with them until a safety launch arrived to get the St. Joseph's pair out of the frigid water.

"They had flipped," Konopka, a 16-year-old sophomore, said yesterday. "Nick said we should probably go back [to help them] and I agreed, so we turned around."

"They were yelling 'help' and one of the kids didn't appear as if he could swim too well," said Mead, a 16-year-old junior. "The water was cold and I'm sure their limbs were going numb."

Considering the fact that the high temperature in the Philadelphia area on Sunday was only around 45 degrees, Mead's concern about his competitor's condition was almost certainly correct.

For most teens, that good samaritan act would have been more than enough work for one day. That wasn't the case with Konopka and Mead, who insisted on turning back around and completing the race.

Whenthe Episcopal Academy duo finally reached the finish line, their coaches were stunned that it had taken them so long … until they found out that the sophomore and junior had helped their capsized opponents. That information changed the Episcopal staff's reaction from one of mild disappointment to admiration of their own charges.

Clearly, it was the right response, just as Mead and Konopka's decision to help had been.


Inspiring runner refuses to stop short of state final finish line

Of all the inspiring moments of determination you see in the remaining months of 2011, it's unlikely any can top the heroics turned in by one high school senior Monday at an unusually humid cross country race in Louisiana.

As reported by WWL-TV and the New Orleans Times-Picayune, among other sources, Covington (La.) St. Paul's School senior cross country star Christian Bergeron's body failed during the final yards of the Louisiana Class 5A boys cross country championship raceon Monday. Yet, while the runner collapsed again and again over the final 25 yards of the race, his spirit never wavered, with the teenager eventually dragging himself across the finish line on his hands and kneesto complete the final cross country race of his high school career, as you can see above.

As soon as Bergeron crossed the finish line, he collapsed into the arms of his older brother, Joey Bergeron, who was on hand to watch his sibling's final race.

"I was trying to move my legs, but it just wasn't working," Bergeron told WWL-TV. "I tried standing and they just buckled underneath me, so that's when I resorted to crawling. I don't remember hearing anything. When I crossed the line, I saw my brother, and he picked me up and brought me to the bench."

Determining exactly how many times Bergeron collapsed in the closing yards is a difficult task, since he appeared to resurrect himself more than once only to fall over backwards. Still, none of those setbacks stopped the runner from finishing the race, even if he did lose about 30 seconds from his projected finish time, dropping him from 13th place to 39th in the process.

Those results were hardly anyone's focus after the teenager finally made it across the line. Rather, they were concerned with his welfare, with his mother, who happens to be a nurse, rushing down to the track and transporting her son to a nearby hospital in a golf cart.

According to the Times-Picayune, the race has never staffed an EMT in past years, but the unseasonable heat and humidity -- Natchitoches, La., where the race was held, had a heat index above 80 degrees on Monday-- made for dangerous race conditions for teens more accustomed to racing in weather nearly 20 degrees cooler by this point in the season.

"There's no paramedics, no ambulance, nothing," Joey Bergeron told the Times-Picayune. "It's hot, and kids are lying around everywhere suffering."

Yet, despite all that suffering, Bergeron never wavered in his commitment to finishing the race for his team. In that, his teammates here hardly surprised, as St. Paul's sophomore Zachary Albright told the Times-Picayune:

"Christian's all heart," he said. "He would do anything for this team. He looked like he was OK right before the race, but we were all dying out there."

University of New Hampshire Athlete Shortens Career to Donate Bone Marrow

Cameron Lyle, a Division I college athlete in New Hampshire, has decided to shorten his athletic career for a chance to save a life.

The University of New Hampshire senior will donate bone marrow Wednesday, a decision that abruptly ends his collegiate athletic career but one that he calls a "no brainer."

Lyle, 21, had his mouth swabbed to join a bone marrow registry two years ago in the cafeteria at school. He didn't think any more of it until a few months ago when he got a phone call that he might be a match. He took more tests and discovered a month later that he was a perfect match.

"When they first told me, I was like, 'OK, cool. I'm definitely going to do it,'" Lyle said. "After that I kind of went to tell my coach and then I realized slowly that my season was over."

Lyle's main events are the shot put and the hammer throw.

"It's just a sport," he said. "Just because it's Division I college level doesn't make it any more important. Life is a lot more important than that, so it was pretty easy."

Lyle competed in his last competition Saturday and said it was "kind of emotional." His teammates rallied around him to cheer him on.

The man who needs his help is a 28-year-old suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Lyle was told that the man only has six months to live without the transplant.

Lyle of Plaistow, N.H., said he had been told there was a one in five million chance for a non-family match.

"It was kind of a no-brainer for a decent human," Lyle said. "I couldn't imagine just waiting. He could have been waiting for years for a match. I'd hope that someone would donate to me if I needed it."

After he got the call, Lyle knew he needed to speak to his mom and his coach.

"My son and I have a pretty funny rapport together so when he tells me things, it's usually in humor," mom Chris Sciacca said. "He simply sent me a text that said, 'So I guess I have a chance to save someone's life.'"

The two sat down and talked through the decision, but Sciacca said it was ultimately a decision that "came from his heart."

"We talked about in five or 10 years, is he going to look back and say, 'Damn, I wish I went to that track conference,' or is he going to say, 'Damn, I saved someone's life," she said.

"I know my son very well and I know where his heart is and I knew that he would make the right decision.

"He made his decision. He gave up his college season to do this. He's a gentle giant," Sciacca said of her 6-foot-2-inch, 255-pound son. "He'll do anything for anybody."

What Lyle was most nervous about was telling Coach Jim Boulanger, who has been his coach for four years.

Boulanger said that a nervous Lyle came into his office, shut the door and told him he wouldn't be able to throw next month at the America East Conference championship for which he had been training.

When Boulanger asked why, Lyle told him and found that his coach was completely supportive.

"Here's the deal," Boulanger told Lyle. "You go to the conference and take 12 throws or you could give a man three or four more years of life. I don't think there's a big question here. This is not a moral dilemma. There's only one answer."

Boulanger said he's "very proud" of his athlete.

"He's very approachable. He's very funny," Boulanger said. "I don't have any doubt that he's very compassionate and it was just a given that he'd do it.

"You can't ask for any more out of a person than to help another person," he said.

Lyle's mother is just as proud.

"I am beyond words proud. He is my hero," Sciacca said. "When your children inspire you to be better people, you know it's come full circle and he's inspired his mom to be a better circle."

Lyle will make the bone marrow donation Wednesday morning at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital. A needle will be used to withdraw liquid bone marrow from his pelvic bone. After the surgery, he will not be allowed to lift more than 20 pounds over his head, which rules out all his athletic events.

Lyle and the man have to remain anonymous to each other for at least a year, but can then sign consent forms to release their identities if they want.

"I really want to meet him," Lyle said, "and I hope he wants to meet me."


A cross-country runner in North Dakota carried an injured competitor across the finish line during a recent race, a show of compassion that reflects the deeper meaning of sports.

The situation happened Saturday at the Eastern Dakota Conference’s Cross County Championship. Fargo South runner Danielle LeNoue was participating, nearing the finish, when she felt a pop in her knee. She crumpled to the ground in pain, an injury to her patella tendon.

She was sobbing.

“I started walking, and I could not go any further,” she told ABC affiliate WDAY-TVin Fargo.

Devils Lake runner Melanie Bailey encountered the fallen runner. While others ran past, Bailey stopped.

View gallery



North Dakota Runner Carries Injured Competitor Across the Finish Line (ABC News)

“All I could think about was she was in a lot of pain. And I wanted to help her,” Bailey said.

Bailey asked LeNoue to hop on her back. That’s how the two crossed the finish line, with Bailey carrying LeNoue.

“Honestly, I loved the way I ended it,” Bailey told WDAY. “It was a great way to end my cross-country season.”

The two have since been exchanging Facebook messages, the strangers turned friends because Bailey stopped to help.

“It’s pretty cool,” LeNoue said. “Touching moment for myself.”


High schooler's heroic act helps marathon runner cross the finish line

 Mandy Velez,Yahoo Lifestyle 47 minutes ago 



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Chandler Self’s legs gave out about 20 meters from the finish line of her latest race, but with the help of another athlete, she still crossed it — and won.

Throughout the BMW Dallas Marathon on Saturday, Self trailed behind competitor Kaitlin Keen. During the last leg of the race, Self, who’s from Dallas but now works as a psychiatrist in New York City, surged ahead a final time to outpace Keen for the win. Then, a runner’s worst fear happened.

“I saw the finish, I knew I was gonna win,” Self tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I couldn’t wait to get there; I was on Cloud 9 — and then all of a sudden, my legs gave out from underneath me. I tried to will my legs to go, but just couldn’t.”

Self had fallen and gotten up a few times when high school runner Ariana Luterman ran over to help her. The Greenhill Academy student and triathlete had been running alongside Self for two miles in a separate race when she saw Self fall.


“I thought she had tripped. She went down again and again. The last time she went down, she was about 20 meters from the finish line,” Luterman, 17, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I was worried she wasn’t going to make it to the end.”

After her last fall, Luterman left the relay in which she was an anchor, and picked Self up and supported her all the way to the finish line. Luterman even made sure Self crossed first.

Worried about breaking the rules, which suggest that runners may not have help during a race, Self had tried to motion for Luterman to stop, but Luterman figured it was OK, since she was a fellow runner. Plus, she just couldn’t bear to see Self struggling.

“There’s only so much clapping and cheering you can do,” she says.

Still, Self not only crossed the finish line, but broke a record, too. She became the first woman to cross the 2017 BMW Dallas Marathon finish line with an unofficial time of 2:53:58.

Dallas Marathon director Marcus Grunewald determined that with her lead, Self would have won on her own, and made the win official. Keen, whom Self calls a “class act,” came in second, but also agreed that her opponent would have won despite the help.

Medics carted Self off before she and Luterman could exchange words, but she said she is thankful to Luterman for going out of her way for her. Luterman, who not only runs in real life but also runs her own nonprofit for homeless children, called Team Ariana, said any of her teammates would have done what she did.

Ariana Luterman’s senior portrait. (Photo by Sharon Ellman)

“I’m really not anything special,” she says. “Any other of the members on the relay team, I know for a fact they would have done the same thing.”

Self says her legs had never given out before and she’s not really sure what happened, but she’s going to investigate. In the meantime, she’s reveling in her win, her first marathon win at that, which she called a “dream come true.”

“My dad never cries, and he had tears in his eyes,” she says.