“A man’s friendships are one of the best
measures of his worth.”

Charles Darwin

This post hurts my heart to write. But, my heart is expressed much better in written word than any other medium. My heart guides my words and thoughts about a man, a friend, that means so much to me. And, has meant so much to so many people on and off the trails.

As many are reading Robert Merriman passed away yesterday after a six month FIGHT with glioblastoma — aka brain cancer. When he was diagnosed back in July it was a shock to all of us. How could someone so vibrant, healthy and strong get diagnosed with such an ugly disease? It just wasn’t fair.

Robert was much more than just a runner. He was a friend — first and forth most. He was one of the kindest, most generous men I’ve ever known. No matter his speed or pace whenever he was done with a training run or race he would often go back to make sure everyone was okay and cheer us along — often with his camera in hand.

His heart will be what I miss the most. When I messaged him and offered my support his simple response spoke to the kind of man he was. He simply responded … “just love everyone.”

That’s the kind of man he is.

His pure Christlike love for everyone always left an impression upon me, despite sharing different faiths. Robert’s shared religion was kindness. He was always lifting and building others up.

I have so many cherished memories of Robert. I will always remember the first time Becca Wood and I met him at the Bluffdale City Park in November of 2013. We felt like we met a celebrity and we both developed a cherished friendship with him.

Gosh, it’s hard making a list of those memories — the Riverton Half, the Run Elevated Half snowstorm in August, runs around Liberty Park and of the countless runs down Big Cottonwood Canyon.

But, I’ll always remember the last group run I had with Robert. It was this past July just a couple of weeks before his diagnosis. We had a run down Little Cottonwood on Canada Day with Robert as our honoured guest.

Many came decked out in Canadian maple leafs, red shirts and whatnot for a tongue-in-cheek fun run to celebrate Canada. I’m glad Robert was able to come, because I billed him as the run’s celebrity. That will always be a fun and cherished memory for me.

And, to think what laid just in front of him a few weeks later.

I never ran the trails with Robert, but I was always in awe of his ability. Especially when he trained to run the Antelope Island 100 miler last March. I know how hard he trained for that race.

There were a couple of times we spent hours running the Oval indoor track — him for his 100 miler and me for my 12 hour timed raced. He really inspired me to train for my own 100 miler. Not just showing me that it was possible but that it was doable. When I complete that 100 mile race goal, Robert will be on my mind and heart at that finish line.

I am so glad he was able to accomplish that 100 mile race. That really was a crowning achievement to his running efforts and journey. I know that training and fight to the finish line helped prepare him for this last fight.

Robert, thank you.

Thank you for your example, your friendship, your love and outlook on life and others. I can honestly say that I am a better person having known you. You changed my life and we’re a huge part of my running journey.

When people ask me what’s kept me running all these years as I work toward my 180 race goal, I always tell them it’s been the friendships. Without the friendships I would have stopped this journey years ago.

And, you, you were that friend that taught me that.

Thank you. I love you friend.

Now go and run with the angels until we meet again.

This is a video that Robert made back in 2014 about his running adventures that year. Becca Wood shared this with me and — well — it put me in absolute tears. The pictures and his choice of song really speaks to the soul of those who knew and ran with Robert.

After viewing the video Robert made in 2014 I asked for pictures of Robert with others in the Run4fun Facebook group so I could put together a version of our own for Robert. I’ve watched this dozens of times and I’m glad Robert was able to see it before his passing.