Sponsor: Nike! Simon trains in Eugene, Oregon with some of the most elite American runners who will be mentioned in future posts.
Simon was also the first professional runner I have seen race in person. Although I didn't personally eat his dust during my racing days in Ontario, I did watch roughly 60 other men get utterly annihilated by Mr. Bairu in the 2009 Canadian Senior XC championship at Guelph. I still to this day remember one incredible thing from that race: Bairu had a tremendous lead and had to be in a boat load of pain going at that pace but he had absolutely ZERO expression his face. There wasn't a single non-running related muscle that was flexed. Everything was in pure control. A beautiful thing to watch.
The following stat speaks volumes for this man running ability: at a Stanford University Invitational track race in 2010, Simon set the 10,000m Canadian record in a time of 27:23.6 (no, there are no typos there). That is 4:24/mile or 2:44/km pace. Unbelievable. This is 30 seconds faster than Coolsaet or Gillis! Oh, and I forgot to mention that Simon ran XC for Wisconsin in the NCAA (American College sports league). He won the individual title in back to back years in 2004 and 2005.
So where does Simon stand in the Marathon world? Does he have a shot at London? Well on paper he does, he has a 62:47 and 62:08 half marathon (4:44/mile or 2:57/km) to his credit. With that kind of half marathon performance he certainly is in range of both a ticket to London and a shot at Drayton's record. However, the late 2011 summer/fall wasn't favorable to his training as he backed out of the Scotiabank marathon with some fatigue issues after he dropped out of the NYC marathon and was brought to the hospital via ambulance!
Simon ran in the Houston Marathon (the day after the USA Olympic Trials) with the sole focus of being the 3rd Canadian male to qualify for the Olympic marathon. He went through 13.1 miles in 65:11 which put him on pace for 2:10:22 well under the Olympic standard. However, the marathon reared its ugly head again for Simon and the wheels fell off during the last 7-10k leaving him with a disappointing time (relative for him) of 2:19:52. I can surmise that when he knew he wasn't going to make the Olympic standard time he lost a bit of the motivation to keep hammering the pace.
However, he like Ritz might use this result as a catalyst for a serious look at doing damage in the 10,000m in London! Either way I'll be watching.
Last, but clearly not least, in this list of Marathon Men is Dylan Wykes