In the two years since his move to Guelph, Rob Watson has developed a bit of a reputation amongst his Speed River Track and Field Club teammates. Watson has become known for pursuing things full-bore, his courage and fearlessness have earned him the nickname Destoroyer. He throws himself into his training; his incredible training loads have made even the most seasoned distance runner raise their eyebrows. It thus came as no surprise to those closest to him, when they saw Watson in the top six for much of the men's 5000 meter race at the prestigious Mt Sac Relays in Los Angeles, California. In a race that boasted a handful of Olympians, including Olympic seventh place finisher and eventual race winner Juan Luis Barrios of Mexico, there was Watson leading the main chase pack despite having a lifetime best some 30 seconds slower then most of the field.
With 33 guys in the field there was a lot of back and forth and as the race wore on Watson's quick early pace began to wear on him "At one point I recall looking at the lap counter and I saw 7 laps to go and though oh no I still have 3k to go. I felt pretty strong and could feel those high milleage weeks paying off" commented Watson after the race.
As Watson hit the bell lap he looked at the clock and needed a 63 second final 400 to run under 13:40. "I just put my head down and for about 70 meters tried to go, it was a struggle." As he crossed the line 13:40 came across the screen, for the next five minutes he had an excruciating wait as the results slowly came up on the stadium's screen. Finally, "Rob Watson Speed River TFC 13:40.33" appeared on the screen. Agonizingly close to his goal of breaking 13:40, but Watson did not go home unhappy, “it was a 32 second lifetime best and I learned some things that will help me the next time." Waston's time ranks him second in Canada and after returning home for two weeks he will head back out to the west coast to run at the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford University. There he will return to his speciality, the 3000 meter steeplechase, an event he won at the 2008 Olympic Trials.
Watson was one of four Speed River athletes who made the trip out to the City of Angels. Teammate Kyle Boorsma, in his first race since his outstanding CIS Track and Field Championships, also registered a huge personal best taking 28 seconds of his lifetime best time with a 13:57.23 clocking in the 5000 meters. Boorsma's time provisionally qualified him for this summer's World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia. Also in the 5000 meters was 2008 Olympian Taylor Milne. Milne clocked a time of 14:01.33, narrowly missing his lifetime best from the 2008 Mt Sac Relays of 13:59.68. Rounding out the Speed River contingent was John Corbitt who clocked a time of 4:00.90 in the 1500 meters. Milne and Boorsma will be joining Watson at Stanford in weeks while Corbitt will be racing this coming weekend in Berkley, California.
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