James’ early morning start line at the BMO Vancouver Marathon, May 1.

It’s the weekend of your 40th birthday, how do you spend it? If you’re James Koole, communications lead for Tucows, you fly yourself to Vancouver, BC to participate in the BMO Vancouver Marathon!

The passion that James has for running reminds me that we should take more opportunities to share some stories about the kind of people we spend the majority of our waking hours with.

James is our communications lead at Tucows / OpenSRS. This means that he writes the majority of the things our resellers read on the website, and the e-mails you receive in your inbox. When he gets back from Vancouver, he’ll probably even correct some grammar and spelling mistakes on this very post.

He’ll also ask me why I wrote this post. He’s a modest fellow and doesn’t like to brag. He hates the spotlight. I have an answer prepared for him though: “James, if you don’t want the spotlight on you, then you should ease up a bit on your level of awesome, mkay?”

At Tucows, we have the opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in the industry. But for a company to think about its human capital purely from a professional skillset, would surely be a mistake. After all, experts say that having a passion for things outside of work is critical for a happy work/life balance. They did say that, right?

Hammering out code, programming routers, and configuring servers is a big part of what we do. But the downtime is just as important. I haven’t taken a formal count, but if I held out my arms in a group of Tucowsers and quickly spun myself around, I will be not only dizzy, but I will have smacked a couple of marathoners, a lot of cyclists, some rock climbers, kickboxers, soccer players, and even snowboarders; I’m also sure that by Monday, I’ll have colleagues reminding me of other sports activities within the company.

So while James competes against himself in a gruelling 42-kilometre race, fighting against the blisters, the shin splints and the fatigue, I’m going to gush a little bit about his commitment to his passion, as I sip coffee from the comfort of my front porch, and try to convince myself that I should go for a bike ride after I finish this post.

Happy Birthday James, and good luck on your run! We’re all cheering for you, and some of us are even a little envious of your commitment to your passion.