Last year, Melin’s children — Shannon, Crystal and Nathan — all competed in a Warrior Dash event, a 3.51-mile obstacle course from hell. It was an experience they wanted to share with their father. Melin, 62, had never competed in a running race.
Melin had always lead an active lifestyle. He grew up on a small farm near Hannah Lake and he does a lot of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. But the Warrior Dash is a whole other animal. It features numerous obstacles designed to make humans cringe. Challenging participants are hurdles, deep mud, fire, massive walls, nets and distance. It isn’t for everyone.
Once his kids started asking, Melin realized quickly they were not going to leave him alone until he said yes.
“They kept bugging me and I knew they would keep bugging me,” Melin said with a hearty chuckle. “They were not going to let it go. I had always wondered how I would do in a competition. They said I would do well.
“They made me realize it was time to find out for myself.”
Melin ran in the Warrior Dash in Barrie in July. He trained the month leading up to the race with Shannon by doing daily runs. It was his first competitive event ever. Melin won the 60 and over division by more than three minutes. Not bad for a first race.
“I just wanted to finish the race,” Melin said. “I never thought about winning it. I was surprised. It was rough, but good.”
Melin has never been a competitive runner, but he sure acted like one after he had a moment to think about the result.
“I thought I should have trained harder and I would have had a better time,” he said.
Melin never considered himself an athlete. The farm where he grew up was isolated and he didn’t have much time for organized sports after chores and school, so he made sure his kids had every opportunity in the world to try different sports.
Melin had a lot of great memories from the Warrior Dash, but none will top the fact he did the event with his children. No victory is sweeter than the experience that changes your outlook on life for the better. This is the impact the experience had on Melin.
“It meant a lot they wanted to do the race with me,” Melin said. “I’m glad my kids pestered me to do it. I might not have done it on my own. I needed that push from them.
“The race changed me. It gave me more confidence and appreciation of what I can do. I know my limits are set higher now. It’s a rewarding feeling to have.”
Shannon, 36, Crystal, 34, and Nathan, 31, were proud of their father. Not just because he won, but because he tried. Melin keeps setting fine examples for his kids, and others, to follow.
“Our dad paved the way for us right from the beginning,” Crystal said. “He has always encouraged us to practise and get better at everything we try. We owe so much of our work ethic and persistence to our parents.
“Our dad is just a really great guy and we all feel fortunate to have him in our lives. It was really emotional for me to see him finish so quickly and with so much energy.”
Melin isn’t sure whether he will compete in next year’s Warrior Dash. There’s a spark in his eye when asked about the subject that makes you think he will. If his kids are competing and want Melin to do it again, then there is little doubt.
Melin taught his kids never to take no for an answer and he will never say no to his kids.
Scott Haddow has been writing about sports in Greater Sudbury for the past 10 years.