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10,000m to re­peat the dou­ble he first ac­com­plished at the in­au­gu­ral World Cup two years ear­lier in Dus­sel­dorf.

The 1979 World Cup was my first in­ter­na­tional meet as a jour­nal­ist and I re­mem­ber well those as­ton­ish­ing races and his press con­fer­ences but it wasn’t un­til 1997, when he asked for po­lit­i­cal asy­lum in Canada, that I would ac­tu­ally meet him.

Mem­bers of the tight-knit Ethiopian com­mu­nity of Toronto pro­vided him with an apart­ment, fur­ni­ture and a lawyer upon his ar­rival. Even­tu­ally, I was of­fered an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view for the New York Times. We met once over cof­fee and with a trans­la­tor so he could feel com­fort­able with me be­fore meet­ing again for a for­mal in­ter­view.

Af­ter my story was pub­lished, as a to­ken of grat­i­tude, he gave me a key chain; a medal­lion from the 1960 Rome Olympics which he said re­minded him of his coun­try­man, Abebe Bik­ila, the 1960 Olympic marathon cham­pion.

Yifter him­self was an in­spi­ra­tion to a gen­er­a­tion of Ethiopian dis­tance run­ners in­clud­ing Haile Ge­brse­lassie, who re­calls lis­ten­ing to his hero’s Moscow tri­umph on the fam­ily ra­dio. When­ever I’ve in­ter­viewed Ge­brse­lassie he would ask me about Miruts.

Our paths would cross again though the con­ver­sa­tions were short. Yifter spoke lit­tle English. He was the Ethiopian f lag bearer at the 2008 Bei­jing Olympics and I was work­ing for the cbc there. One day I found him seated in the Bird’s Nest Sta­dium and showed him I was still car­ry­ing the key chain. He grinned proudly.

Oc­ca­sion­ally, I bumped into him in Toronto’s St. Lawrence Mar­ket area where he lived. One night last win­ter, he turned up at an Ethiopian restau­rant owned by his good friend Michael Kidus. Michael had told him I would be there. Im­me­di­ately he or­dered shots of whisky and we toasted each other. Ever so hum­ble he then asked me to pose for a pic­ture with him.

Two thou­sand mourn­ers at­tended a me­mo­rial ser­vice in Toronto on Dec. 27 be­fore his body was sent back to Ad­dis Ababa for burial in a cer­e­mony on Jan. 1. Miruts Yifter was a na­tional hero in Ethiopia and a fondly re­mem­bered Cana­dian.— Paul Gains POP-UP RUN­NING HAT The leg­endary out­door brand re­leases a de­cid­edly ur­ban hat de­signed specif­i­cally for run­ning. Its close-fit­ting knit con­struc­tion is com­fort­able yet ul­tra-stylish. The North Face uses its patented FlashDry ma­te­rial for a breath­able hat that’s usable in pretty much any con­di­tions. This clever de­sign, not dis­sim­i­lar to Mon­treal-made caps by Ciele Ath­let­ics. al­lows you to wear the brim up or down. Its tai­lored fit and flex­i­ble brim will keep you cool and dry, mov­ing the mois­ture to the sur­face of the FlashDry fab­ric for fast-dry­ing per­for­mance. The Pop-Up Run­ning Hat comes in a va­ri­ety of sizes, and also sports a stretchy elas­tic back for a per­fect fit.

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