I've been thinking about Danny Kassap a lot the past few days. It was Monday, election day afternoon, when one of my colleagues at work (a runner) told me that he had passed away, a day after the Sporting Life race.
I think the running community was alerted through email, through Facebook, and a lot of little conversations were had across this city. Toronto, I do truely believe, is well on its way to becoming a runners' city. I've read a lot of touching things about him, from pros to everyday runners who knew him.
Other than mentioning him a few times on this blog, I have marvelled when I have seen him at races. I've been a customer at the Running Room where he worked and there have been times when I have wandered in to buy socks or gels when he'd be ringing in my purchase. I'm too awestruck to have said anything but I have always rooted for Danny. I think for those of us runner nerds, he was our very own local hero.
He had his hardships, gaining acceptance, gaining citizenship, overcoming that horrible day in Berlin. Still, from what all I've read, he LOVED to run. In that, I see the connection that those of us at the back of the back share.
I am so sad for the loss -- and to all he touched. It's helped me gain a lot of perspective, even tonight as I ran on the trails that he had as well. Cherish life. Live your passions. Don't let a day pass without remembering the simple joys. For Danny, at least I know there is something I can give back, so I did. And I encourage you to as well.