Running Talk with Rob Watson

If you read Rob Watson’s blog (, you know he is one of the most compelling voices on the Canadian distance running scene. But as recent performances have shown (including a 2:13 PB in Rotterdam in 2012 and a gutsy 11th place finish at this year’s Boston Marathon) he’s also one of Canada’s top talents.

Rob was planning on following the Boston Marathon by running the 10K in Ottawa. But true to form, Rob threw caution to the wind and, with only 6 weeks recovery, switched to the marathon two days before the event. We’re pleased to report that a Canadian Marathon Championship was the result for the London (ON)-raised, University of Colorado-educated and now Vancouver-based runner.

Thanks to Rob for taking the time to chat with us before he chalks up another race on June 23rd.


You came to Ottawa to run the 10K and ended coming home Canadian Marathon Champion. Congratulations! How did you know you were ready so soon after Boston?

Thanks! After Boston I was super pumped and motivated to keep things rolling, I was so high on running that I probably didn’t take as much time off as I should have. I did 5 days of non-running after Boston, and even that was hard to do! I was back to training and running pretty soon after Boston.

Two weeks before Ottawa I did a 10mile tempo run around the hills in Stanley park and it went very well, so I knew I was strong and I knew I had maintained a lot of fitness. When the opportunity to run the Marathon in Ottawa came about I knew that I was physically capable to handle it.

With two strong marathon performances in 6 weeks, what’s next? What are you goals for the rest of the year and longer term?

I am going to run a half Marathon here in Vancouver on June 23rd, it is a great race that I really want to do well in. After the half I will take a proper break, probably 7-10days of no running! I’ll drink some beer and hang out on the beach. Then I will build up and take aim at running a fast marathon in the Fall. I want to make significant improvements on my pb. I’m excited about the fall.

Long term the goal is Rio2016. That’s it man, the Olympics is everything.

How do you celebrate achieving your running goals? Do you take any time off training?

I have a hard time taking time off sometimes, I just love this sport and I love the whole grind. But rest and recovery is very, very important! I’m actually looking forward to my time off after this half marathon. I’m looking forward to hanging out at the beach, drinking some beer and staying up late.

Have you always loved distance running? How did you get into it and when did you know you were serious about it?

I ran my first 10km road race when I was 6, and ever since then running and road races have played a part in my life. My parents have both run marathons. My older brothers were all runners it’s something my family has always done. It’s always been fun, but I first got serious about in high school.

I went down to school in the States on a running scholarship and things have just progressed along the way.

You’re originally from London, ON, and have lived and trained in quite a few places, including Guelph, Flagstaff (AZ) and now Vancouver. What makes for a good running town? Are you enjoying running on the west coast?

I think that any town can be a good running town. If the athlete is properly motivated and driven than all you need is a smooth surface and a pair of shoes. Some of these places just happen to have more smooth surfaces and some good folks to roll with. I have been lucky enough to have trained in many cool places with many very cool people. I am a lucky dude.

I’m loving Vancouver, this is a rad city. It is physically the most beautiful place I have ever trained and I just love the whole scene we have here. The elite scene out here in Vancouver is about to explode! Just wait man, things are getting fast out here, it’s gonna be gnarly.

I read that you made crepes at a farmer’s market while training in Guelph. Do you have a non-running job in Vancouver? If so, how do you balance work and training?

Yeah, I miss my crepe stand, that was so much fun! Out here in van I work at a running store. Forerunners is a really cool shop. The Owner is a 2:10 guy (Peter Butler) I work with Arty Boileau (2:11 guy) and Dylan W. used to work here. It is a cool environment and they are super supportive and flexible with giving me hours and working around my training.

What will you take away from your race in Ottawa? Best memory?

Ottawa 2013 was so much fun! Such a great event, the whole weekend was just such a fun trip. The coolest part was meeting all the great people associated with the event and the energy of it all. I can’t wait to come back next year!