MELMERBY BEACH – Chris DeYoung says he feels compelled to perpetuate Paul MacDonald’s memory due to his personal qualities and athletic achievements.
That is why DeYoung arranges to present the Paul MacDonald Memorial Triathlete Award each year at Melmerby Beach, as did this year on July 21 during a brief ceremony.
“Paul and I grew up together playing basketball in high school and summer leagues,” Young said. “He coaxed me into my first running event in Westville in 1990 and after that I did a few more and he was into the triathlon by then. He finished top local one of the first years doing it.
“I remember he had a prescription to Triathlete Magazine and he had stacks and stacks of old issues in his bedroom. Back then it was just one Olympic distance race they called the Highland Challenge which ran
up that big Merb hill for the run part. I tried out the Challenge and got hooked too. I would bike with Paul long hours as that was his favorite part of it.”
DeYoung said he and MacDonald became even closer on those rides.
“After a few more races Paul got out of it but I kept going and it has become a huge part of my life, but maybe never if not for Paul’s encouragement and friendship,” he said. “The award is chosen based on someone who reminds us a little of Paul in some way, doing it for friendship, fun and fitness, but also laid back and humble as Paul was too.”
DeYoung said he appreciates how people hold MacDonald in their thoughts.
“What I like now is even though a lot of people doing the triathlons don’t know who he was, they often ask about him because of the award and it has become an honour to be presented with it in memory of such a special and well-liked athlete,” he said. “Janet Purdy (Paul’s sister) and I are doing our best to keep his spirit alive each year during the triathlon. I am often told by people who knew him what a great guy and athlete he was and we miss him.”
Wendy Woods, centre, was recently presented with the 2019 Paul MacDonald Memorial Triathlete Award at Melmerby Beach. The award is presented to an Olympic triathlete who competes for friendship, fun and fitness, in honor of Paul’s memory. Presenting the award are Paul’s sister Janet Purdy, left, and Chris DeYoung. It’s the 15th presentation of the award. (Submitted photo)