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Frederick Simpson

Born in 1878 at Alderville Mississauga Anishinabeg of the Ojibway Nation, Fred Simpson moved as a young man to Hiawatha Reserve on Rice Lake to seek employment. A lanky, lithe and strong man, Simpson took up road racing with the Peterborough YMCA Harriers Club in 1906 and within a year was racing such notable events as Hamilton’s 19 mile “Around the Bay” road race placing second in 1907 and 1908. In 1908 the talent of the “Ojibway Thunderbolt” was recognized resulting in an invitation to the provincial and national Olympic marathon trials for a place on the 1908 Canadian Olympic Marathon Team, competing at the 4th Olympiad in London, England. Simpson easily won a berth on the team and in July he participated in the Olympic marathon that was run from Windsor Castle to Shepherd’s Bush in east London. Along with Tom Longboat the Six Nations Onondaga and Lewis Tewinina the American Hopi, it is the only Olympic Marathon in which three North Americans of native heritage have lined up at the start. Simpson and Longboat are immortalized in a 16 mm filming of the start of the race at Windsor, the first Olympic Games to be filmed. After a grueling 26 mile trek, Fred Simpson placed 6th for Canada, out-distancing Longboat and Tewinina, as well as 50 of the world’s best distance runners. In 1909 he turned professional until 1911-12, and retired back to Hiawatha to continue raising his family with wife Susan. In the 1920s Simpson and family moved back to Alderville where he lived out his life, passing away May 19, 1945.

 

 

 

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