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.