Update (10/02/08): I see some people are landing on this page looking for info on Danny Kassap, who collapsed during the Berlin Marathon this past weekend. Here's a forum where there seems to be good updates.
You all have local running heroes. You know, they're the guys and gals who tear it up in races at your home town. You look at the race results, scroll way way down, and find yours among the middle or back of the pack. At the top, with the crazy times and rip roaring pace, are those heroes.
Well, there are many in Canada's biggest city, but here's one to remember: Danny Kassap (picture at left is from the race photog from here). He's run in Toronto for a few years now, has won the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon last year, the Montreal marathon last week and will have a go at the Scotiabank on the 24th (i'm running in the half in that race).
The Globe reports he has his refugee claim rejected and he can't run for Canada even though he is married to a Canadian. He fled Congo after criticizing the government, hasn't spoken to his family, arrived here and stayed at a homeless shelter, learned the language and started running competitively.
I've run in races where he blew away the competition. At the 5K race at the Docks, for example, he blew away the competition on a hot hot day. (correction, i called him a Kenyan runner in that post.. opps). I had the pleasure of seeing him in the lead in the out-and-back route.
All I have to say is that is a complete shame. This guy is a shining example to the running community and embodies what Canada represents for so many people, including my parents when they immigrated here many years ago. A land of opportunity. A place where you can remake yourself. I buy his refugee claim and, more to the point, I buy that he's Canadian, if not by passport, then by heart.
I ran 8.1k (5 miles) after work with a nice speedy last mile... Tomorrow is supposed to be more speed work, but I may very well skip it in prep for the weekend long run.