By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When a high school cross country runner at a recent meet ran by a competitor who was badly injured, he couldn’t just keep running and leave him behind.

Andover High School’s Josh Ripley ended up picking up Lakeville’s Mark Paulauskas and running a half-a-mile to get him some help.

Paulauskas said a number of runners got bunched up and one ended up spiking him with his metal cleats.

“One person wasn’t slowing down and got me in the ankle,” he said.

He began bleeding, badly.

“I could see my ankle bone and I just knew it was bad,” said Paulauskas. “A lot of runners passed me.”

But then came Ripley, who saw Paulauskas on the ground clutching his ankle.

“It was bleeding pretty profusely,” said Ripley. “I asked him if I could help and he said I could. So I picked him up and started running with him.”

Paulauskas said as Ripley was running with him, Ripley was reassuring him that he would be OK.

With Paulauskas in his arms, Ripley ran half-a-mile to the start of the race and brought him to his coaches.

With Paulauskas safe, Ripley turned around and ran the 3-mile race.

“I had blood on my legs and arms after carrying him,” said Ripley. “A lot of people thought I was hurt but I had to inform them that it was not my blood, I was fine.”

Ripley is surprised he is getting attention for what he thinks is not that big of a deal.

“I think it’s a little overboard,” he said. “It’s kind of crazy. You do something kind and you get recognized as much as I have been.”

But for Paulauskas, who needed 21 stitches in his ankle, Ripley’s act of kindness is a very big deal.

“I just want to say that I am really, really thankful for what he did,” he said. “Stopping his race just to help me. It’s really, truly a wonderful thing that he did.”

Ripley is 6 feet, 5 inches tall and 185 pounds. Paulauskas is about 5 feet, 4 inches tall and 100 pounds. And if you’re wondering, Ripley did finish the race in just over 21 minutes which, he says, was a little off his usual pace.

Comments (27)
  1. ali says:

    A modern day Good Samaritan story!

  2. Sarah Nuborne says:

    Way to go Josh!! It is wonderful to hear great news.

  3. Kris says:

    Cross Country runners are some of the best kids around!!! This wonderful young man’s parents should be proud!!!

  4. vonda says:

    Ah the good old days like it used to be. When kids help each other rather than point and laugh at others pain.
    It is refreshing to see one of our younger generation actually think of others rather than the usual selfish attitudes you see most of the time . Wish there were another million of him.

  5. Tc Kelly says:

    This is a very inspiring story! This is the way people should be! Thank you for being so kind Josh

  6. Bill says:

    What a great story.

  7. Momma Bear says:

    WOW! What a wonderful young man! His parents have done a fabulous job! I hope this is a powerful lesson to the runners that passed the injured boy-Shame on you-

  8. Another Momma Bear says:

    Great job young man for knowing to do the right thing!! (and you are right, it is kind of crazy that people make such a big deal out of someone doing what is right) I think it’s because there aren’t a ton of people doing it any more. I think it is great that wcco aired this and I think we should all “pay it forward” because of what Josh did and all do something great for someone else today. Think of the people who would be touched!!?? I love that you took the time to help someone in need!!

  9. Dean Ouellette says:

    Josh: the truth is what you did was unique. How many of us — myself included – would have the moral compass AND the physical strength to carry someone who was bleeding for half-a-mile?

    You, son, are special.

  10. homer says:

    Dang, Tarzan with a good upbringing. What a mensch!

  11. livingston says:

    This young man my not have won the race but he won something much more important – respect and honor! What a fine young man!

  12. momtoall says:

    very cool. I think you won the race in everyone’s eyes. Doesn’t matter what your time was. : )

  13. Pat says:

    Josh, you’re an outstanding young man!! Your compassion and selflessness are an example for all to follow!

  14. John Barnard says:

    Well Done Josh, Proud of you… You rock. You’ll do great at what ever you decide to do… signed
    A Vet, a FLATFOOTED vet…lol, couldn’t run to end of yard….Not much running in the navy i’m glad to say…

  15. Michael L says:

    Nice to hear there is still good kids now there is a very good young man good job JOSH

  16. retphxfire says:

    Nice to A) read a story about good and B) not to read (so far) any negative or insensitive remarks from the usual trolls. Way to go Josh!

  17. nonparieldolls says:

    Josh, it’s a big deal ’cause nowadays, very few people would even stop to ask the guy if he needed help, much less offer any. You are a shining example of the way we should be — and the fact it’s just perfectly normal to you is what stands out most of all. You and your parents can be soooo proud, you are a fine young man! May we hear about more and more just like you — doing the right thing and feeling it’s “no big deal”, just what we should be doing. Boy, what a concept. If THAT could catch on……

  18. Bison Mama says:

    The injured runner Mark needed 21 stitches and said he could see his bone. Josh just may have saved his life.

  19. Betty says:

    A pay-it-forward moment.

  20. Lila says:

    What an inspiriing story! Josh you should be proud as I imagine your parents are 🙂 IT is about doing the RIGHT thing and we need more ppl in this world to do that. I hope the news spreads and your act of courage & kindness receives the news coverage it deserves. .

  21. Fabian Jones says:

    Cool story.

    I wonder who spiked the kid in the first place?

  22. Art says:

    Sometimes you win a race by not crossing the finish line first.

  23. Mekhong Kurt says:

    Nice, nice story. Josh, you’re a great young man. If your behavior that day is usual for you, I bet you have a very bright future ahead of you, Sir!

    Thanks, CBS Minnesota, for running this story.

    (From an old Texan in Thailand)

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