Rob Watson, Vancouver native and Mile2Marathon coach, has successfully completed his 15th year of sub-15:00 5Ks. The 37-year-old ran his personal best back in March 2009, finishing in 14:17. A 2:13 marathoner, 11th place finisher at Boston, 20th in the world championship marathon and four-time national champion, Watson has had a very consistent career, and his 5K accolades are further proof.
15yrs in a row of sub 15min 5kms. Pretty stoked on that streak (yes I know that Strava & GPS is not official…just let this old man have this one 😄) pic.twitter.com/lbU2OZISEh
— Rob Watson (@robbiedxc) May 28, 2020
Watson began running 5Ks long before his marathon career got started. As a steeplechaser in university, he would run road races as tuneup or off-season events, as many track runners do. However, as he progressed to the marathon, he made an effort to maintain his speed as he increased weekly distance. His 5K on May 27 was a pretty steady effort, starting at 2:54 per kilometre and ending at the same pace. He finished in the nick of time at 14:59.
While a sub-15 minute 5K is impressive, what’s even more impressive is his consistency. Watson credits loving running and taking care of his body with his ability to maintain speed. “My number one thing is that I just love running. Training is fun to me. Also, I’ve been proactive in taking care of my body and haven’t been afraid of a little hard work along the way.”
Lots of tops marathoners, like Watson, have been able to simultaneously maintain marathon strength and shorter distance speed. For example, Molly Huddle, Emily Sisson, Kellyn Taylor and Stephanie Bruce are all marathoners and were the top four finishers in the 10,000m at the USATF national championship in 2019.
So even if your primary event is the marathon, don’t be scared to give a shorter event a shot. You might just end up with a 15-year streak yourself.