We were shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of David Torrence, the 31 year old son of Malibu Rotary Club President Bianca Torrence, on Monday August 28th.  David was an elite athlete, and as a Peruvian-American middle distance runner  competed at the 2016 Olympic Games.  He competed in Europe last month, and was training in Scottsdale Arizona before competing in a race in Long Island New York next week. He was found at the bottom of a pool at the condominium complex in Scottsdale where he was training.
 

 
 
The cause of death is pending autopsy results. When David was 6 years old his father Scott Allen Torrence died of a ruptured brain aneurysm at age 31. Although the cause of David’s passing is still under investigation this could be one explanation.  According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation family history of brain aneurysm is one of the risk factors and although they are more likely in older age brain aneurysms and their rupture can occur at any age, even children.
 
Over 500 people attended a memorial service  for David Torrence on Saturday October 7 at the Malibu Jewish Center in  Malibu.  Although we came to the memorial service prepared with pockets stuffed with Kleenex, we left uplifted by the spirit of David, whose inspiration and encouragement of his fellow runners, family and friends, had all benefitted from being close to him.   There were people at the service who knew David for many years, and others that had met only months before, and even one man who spoke at the service who never met him, but who felt uplifted just from the spirit and stories of those that had been around David. The love all felt for David was palpable.
 
Among the speakers at the memorial service was Lalo Diaz, who has been the Head Coach of the Loyal High School Track Team for many years. Loyola High School was founded in 1865, making it the oldest high school in Los Angeles. Until David Torrence and his classmates came to the high school their track team had been mediocre. When David was there they won their 1st CIF championship and have been one of the top track teams in the state ever since.  Coach Diaz attributes their recent success to David’s influence.
 
David was on the University of California at Berkeley track team when he was 17 years old and immediately started setting records and making friends
 
David’s roommates and members of the University of California track team were at the service to tell how they had been inspired by David to improve their performances, how he inspired them to beat their arch rival Stanford team when he was there.
 
Another Cal runner who was inspired by David is Alysia Montaño. She  ran for Cal when David was there, and she was so inspired she runs even now when she is 8 months pregnant. She was also one of the athletes who spoke up, along with David,  about athletes who were  taking performance enhancing drugs.  She and David refused these drugs, and any awards they received, even if they weren’t gold medals, were earned with hard work and constant training.
 
The wonderful tribute to David was orchestrated mostly by David’s loving sister Sylvie and David’s mom Bianca Torrence.  Several videos were shown that were made by Nike and Hoka One, who sponsored David when he became a professional runner.
 
The Nike video was made in 2012 and can be seen at:
 The Hoka One video was made in 2016 after David represented Peru at the Rio Olympics and can be seen at:
Another video shown was a composite of many races from high school, Cal, and professionally:
After David’s passing Hoka released it’s memorial video:

 
 
David trained and competed around the world but considered Malibu his home. He ran collegiately at UC Berkeley. David set the Cal freshman record in the 1500 meters in 2004 with a time of 3:43.62 – a record that continues to stand more than 13 years later. He ran a personal-best 3:40.80 in the 1500 as a junior, which ranked No. 2 in school history at the time.
 
In addition, David established the Cal record in the mile in 2007, with his time of 3:58.62 breaking Don Bowden's 50-year-old mark of 3:58.7 from 1957. He was sponsored by HOKA ONE ONE. Originally he trained for the U.S. Olympic team before switching to Peru, where his mother holds citizenship.
 
In 2015, David, running for the United States, won a silver medal in the 5000 meters at the Pan American games in Toronto, while in 2014, he set an American record in the indoor 1000 meters (2:16.76). 
 
He made the 1500-meter final at the 2016 Olympics and recently set Peruvian national records in the 1500 Meter and mile. He was ranked among the top 10 milers in the world this year.
 
When asked why he decided to represent Peru rather than the U.S. prior to the 2016 Olympic trials David said, "A big part of it is inspiring other people and athletes, non-athletes and kids. I kind of realized that whether or not I make the U.S. team, the American public as a whole is going to have heroes to look up to. The U.S. can send a full team in the 1500, a full team in the 5k, a full team in every sport across the Olympic Games, right? It’s expected of Americans to be there.
"Whereas in Peru, they only have a handful of athletes. I think there’s 12 track athletes now, maybe under 20 in total across all sports. So me running for Peru and being someone who can make a final in events that Peruvians typically have not been good at, I really hope to have a much greater impact on that population, on those people, on those kids and I can hopefully change the running culture out there a little bit and also kind of introduce the idea of professional track because it’s really not well-known, the sport."
 
He was also one of track and field’s most active advocates of clean sport. In 2014 Torrence briefly trained with Jama Aden, a Somalian who coaches some of the fastest runners in the world, including Genzebe Dibaba, the 26-year-old Ethiopian world-record holder in the 1500 meters. Torrence became uncomfortable with what he experienced at a training camp in Spain. He quietly left the coach and went to authorities with his concerns. Eventually, partly because of Torrence’s help, Aden was arrested by police in a doping raid.
“Just this month when he was in doping control at the world championships, an IAAF official he worked with on the Aden case approached David about becoming a clean sport ambassador in South America,” Soos said. “He was excited about that opportunity. His legacy in terms of clean sport is clear to see.”
Torrence was well-liked among fellow runners and fans of the sport. Many took to Twitter to tell stories and share their grief of his passing.
Fellow HOKA athlete Kyle Merber, and  director of the HOKA Long Island Mile announced the 2017  men’s elite mile in Long Island, New York, has been renamed the David Torrence Mile to continue his legacy. .He was the two-time champion of that event and a good friend of Merber’s. He set the event record at 3:53.91 in 2015, and was training to defend his title at the time he passed away. 10 Olympians participated in this year’s David Torrence Mile  on September 6 and   each of the 12 runners in the mile event had the letters “DT” on their runner’s bibs as they raced around the track in rain.
 
These were his friends -- the world-class milers who'd gathered on this humble track in a high school  in Suffolk County to celebrate his life -- said   Merber, who grew up nearby in Dix Hills and organized the event for the third straight year. This was the way Merber believed David would have wanted it. 
"He would have liked this," said Tony Viviano, who'd roomed with Torrence at the University of California at Berkeley and wore Torrance's Peru national team training jersey after travelling from Washington, D.C.
"Everything that people have said about him is true. But the thing that (sticks out) is his energy and enthusiasm. This event really bottles that up."
 
Chris O’Hare of Scotland won the race in pelting rain. As O'Hare (3:56.22) rocketed toward the finish, he raised his arm upwards and pointed it at the sky. With a picture of that finish he tweeted afterward "This one is for you D.T." 
David’s mom Bianca and sister Sylvie were at David Torrence Mile dedication, flown there by HOKA.  Bianca said, "We're very emotional."   
"We're just glad and honored to be here to represent my son. I felt his spirit here tonight."

 On September 10 Bianca and Sylvie were flying to Cal Berkeley for another Memorial for David.
Will Leer, a competitor and close friend of Torrence’s, remembers how David always made time for fans. “The passion with which he competed and trained was the same passion with which he approached being an ambassador for the sport.  I hope that is something we can all learn—this is a bit of a cult sport and it’s a little bit of a strange sport. And the people who follow it are a little bit strange. But he returned the love to them. He was so good at it. We could all do better.”
 
Chanelle Price, an 800-meter specialist who was an Altis teammate, called Torrence the glue that held their group together. The two began training at Altis during the fall last year, but it wasn’t until January, when Price was hospitalized with a pulmonary embolism, that she grew closer to him as a friend.
“He surprised me at the hospital—I wasn’t expecting that because I had only known him for two months,” Price said. “He came with magazines and chocolate and his upbeat spirit. He sat with me for hours, keeping me company. That meant a lot to me and our friendship grew from there.”
 
At practice, usually all the athletes are on the track at the same time—sprinters, jumpers, throwers, hurdlers, and runners. But Torrence usually was the outlier, the one who ran farthest and had the most grueling workouts.
“Everybody cheered when David was on the track,” Price said. “He was on his own because nobody could stick with him. I remember thinking, ‘He’s crazy.’ He’d even come on my workout days to cheer our group on. He’d hop in on the track and start pacing my intervals if he saw me struggling. He was so giving and just truly loved to run.”
Leer said that the only thing Torrence was more competitive at than running was trying to be a good friend. 
“Nobody really knows what it is to be the perfect friend, but damn it, David wanted to find out,” Leer said. “If that meant somebody inviting him over for a game night and playing board games for five hours straight, he was in. Also, he just really loved board games.”
 
Lea Wallace, who was among those closest to Torrence, concurred.
“If there is one thing I learned from David Torrence, he taught me how to love with all my heart,” she said, in a text message.
After that failed attempt at the Spartan Race two years ago, Torrence called up Leer and wife Aisha (Praught) Leer, an Olympic steeplechaser for Jamaica, who were then living in Oregon. With a training break in full swing, he decided to come for a weeklong visit.
The trio piled in the car one day in search of hot springs. Torrence sat in the middle seat in the back so he could talk more easily with the Leers. Suddenly he put a hand on each of their shoulders and leaned forward.
“He said, ‘You know what? I really love you guys,’” Leer said, choking up. “It was the sweetest thing. That’s just who he was.
“He was just such a lover.” 
 
 

David's spirit lives on with friends and running advocates around the world.