Danny Halpin is a physiotherapist, an avid runner and a proud Kinsmen member who has started a fundraising campaign, #marathonforcf, to raise money and awareness for Cystic Fibrosis. He is running a marathon later this summer and dedicating it to those living with CF. We sat down with Danny to discuss the marathon and more:
Q: Thank you for talking with us, Danny, can you tell our readers a bit more about yourself?
A: Where to start? I was born in raised in Flin Flon, so I’m no stranger to the north. After high school, I went to university in Saskatoon and got my master’s in physical therapy. A few months before graduation, my mom sent me a job ad she saw advertising a physiotherapist position in The Pas – which I laughed off at the time, but the person who would have been my boss came down to our school’s career fair. We talked a bit, and I decided to give it a try for a year; I’d work here for a year and if I didn’t like it, I’d leave. That was over five years ago. I’m married and bought a house here, so I guess I’m sticking around for a while.
I dabbled in track when I was in high school, but never really got into distance running until after a bad knee injury at one of my summer jobs. After being laid up and unable to do anything for a while, I felt I needed to prove to myself that I was still capable, and I continued to challenge myself with longer and longer runs until I raced my first half marathon in 2010. I’ve run a total of 7 half marathons and one full marathon in 2011 which I swear nearly killed me. I finally built up the courage to give it another go this year. My dream is to one day run the Boston Marathon.
When I’m not running, I like to play softball, volleyball, and hockey, play guitar, and do community service work with the Kinsmen Club of The Pas.
Q: Can you tell our readers a bit more about Kinsmen and what the club is about?
A: Kin Canada is the largest all-Canadian service club, with a history dating back to 1920. The Kinsmen Club of The Pas has been around since 1960 and is one of Canada’s largest and most successful clubs, with a roster of over 40 members. They do a ton of community service work and donate a lot of money to various local causes. If you look around town, you’ll start to notice the Kinsmen logo on a lot of things, from the Kinsmen ball diamond, the Workplace, Kin Kourt, the Handi-Van, the Zamboni at the Blizzard games, and more. It’s a real source of pride to see the logo everywhere and know you’re a part of that.
I joined Kinsmen in 2013. I joined because I felt it gave me a means to give back and make an impact in my community. Not only that, but I have made a ton of new friends and have had the opportunity to improve my public speaking and organizational skills from running various projects, doing interviews on behalf of the club, and serving as club president in 2015-2016. It also gives me the opportunity to travel and see different parts of Canada as I attend various Kin conferences and conventions.
Q: You are planning on running in the Marathon by the Sea, in St. John, NB this August. Why did you choose this marathon?
A: Every summer, Kin Canada hosts a national convention and invites every club from across Canada to attend. I attended when they hosted it in Brandon in 2015 and was really inspired to see so many community and service minded volunteers and learn about how they are making positive impacts in their home communities. This year, they are hosting it in Halifax on August 17-19. Travelling to Halifax is not cheap, and if I were to go, I really wanted to make it worth my while.
Lately, I’ve been doing “destination races”, which serves as both a reason to travel and motivation to train. Pick a city, find a race, train, go there and race, and bask in the afterglow while you enjoy the amenities of the city. I decided to look and see if there was a race on the east coast around the time of National Convention, and sure enough, Marathon by the Sea was the weekend before. Must be fate.
Q: What made you decide to run for Cystic Fibrosis?
A: Cystic Fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting young Canadians. There currently is no cure, however, since Kin Canada partnered with CF Canada as its official national service project in 1963, the average life expectancy of somebody with CF has gone up from four years to about 50 years today.
This past April, when I was in training for the Oak Bay Half Marathon in Victoria, I’d decided that I wanted to run a full marathon this year. Right after that race, we hosted a Kinsmen district convention here in The Pas on June 3-5. I was inspired by the story of a local teen who spoke at that conference about his battle with CF and recovery from a double lung transplant. The next day, when I was out on one of my 2 hour long runs with only the voices in my head as company, I got the idea of dedicating my run to him and all of the people battling with CF every day, and try to raise some money in the process.
Q: Are you a member of any other service groups in The Pas?
A: I do volunteer for the Legion from time to time, usually with my wife Emma, who is a superstar. I also sit on the town’s Community Development Corporation as well as the Destination Marketing Committee, so between that and Kinsmen, we’re usually pretty busy.
You can follow Danny’s progress as he gets nearer to the marathon in August by heading over to his “Marathon for CF” Facebook page. Danny would encourage everyone to “like” that page, and to also check out the info on how you can donate to the cause. He would love to show up to the national Kin Canada convention with a hefty cheque that would put The Pas on the map! For more information on the Kinsmen Club of The Pas, you can also check out their Facebook page here.