Newfoundlanders join in show of strength in Boston

Robin Short
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Dean Simon, Trent Burden compete in Boston Marathon

At least two Newfoundlanders, with two very different means of motivation, were among the 30,000-plus who finished Monday’s Boston Marathon.
Dean Simon of Flat Bay, on the province’s west coast, crossed the finish line in 3:54.40. His buddy, Trent Burden of Steady Brook, outside Corner Brook, felt like a “rock star” early Monday evening, basking in the glory of his time of 2:58.42, the first time he cracked the three-hour mark.

A race fan waves a Boston Strong flag as runners compete in the 118th Boston Marathon, Monday in Hopkinton, Mass. Among the finishers were Newfoudlanders Dean Simon, of Flat Bay, and Steady Brook’s Trent Burden. Simon competed at the 2013 event and was about a kilometre from the finish line when the bombs went off.

For Simon, running the 2014 Boston Marathon meant taking care of some unfinished business. For Burden, it was about giving the one-finger salute to those who derailed the famed race last year.

Simon entered last year’s race and was about a kilometre from the finish line when the bombs went off. Race officials soon filed on to the course, stopping runners short of the Boylston St. finish line.

“At first,” Dean said Monday night, “I thought it was a cardiac event on the course, but then cell phones starting ringing all over the place.

“People were getting all kinds of information — some of it incorrect it turns out — and things turned quite chaotic.

“Some people were saying as many as 20 or 30 people were dead. Some runners who weren’t carrying cell phones were quite upset.”

Simon, who is studying human nutrition at St. Francis Xavier University, had a tough semester from an academic standpoint, so he didn’t get in the required training for the marathon.

Nonetheless, he said, this was one event he wasn’t going to miss.

“I didn’t have any carved-in-stone goals,” he said, “because my training suffered this year.

“But this was something I had to do. There was no question about that. I had to be in Boston this year.”

As for Burden, this is his second Boston Marathon, after running the 2011 race. He’s also run the Ottawa Marathon twice and events in the Cayman Islands and New Glasgow, N.S.

Burden hadn’t planned on running Boston until he watched the aftermath of last year’s race, and the manhunt to capture the suspected bombers, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhoktar Tsarnaev.

“I saw those two bastards on TV, and when the police hunted them down, I remember saying, ‘I’ve got to be there next year. I’ve got to do that race again.’

“I was telling people, ‘It’s almost like sticking your middle finger up to those people.’”

Both runners reported very tight security in and around Boston, especially during the race.

“If you were carrying a backpack in town,” Simon said, “it felt like there were eyes on you.”

The suspected bombers are said to have stuffed homemade bombs in backpacks, which they left near the finish line last year.

“The support of the people of Boston was incredible,” Simon said. “The crowd support along the course, especially the last two or three kilometers, was unbelievable.

“I don’t see how anyone could not finish with that kind of support behind you.”

Organizations: St. Francis Xavier University

Geographic location: Boston, Cayman Islands, New Glasgow

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