Rob Watson wins Vancouver’s First Half Half-Marathon

The Boston bound elite is looking solid leading up to the April marathon major; Local Catrin Jones wins the women's race.

Rob Watson’s training in preparation for the 2013 Boston Marathon appears to be right on track.

Watson won Vancouver’s First Half Half-Marathon on Sunday. The elite Canadian marathoner went up against some stiff competition, beating out American Joseph Gray by eight seconds, with a winning time of 1:05:39.

The highly popular B.C. race features a stretch along the picturesque Seawall in Stanley Park.

Watson has been included in the elite field at this year’s Boston Marathon. He has already qualified for this summer’s world championship marathon in Moscow, having run a personal best 2:13:37 at Rotterdam in 2012.

Gray, a native of Renton, WA, just south of the border, was expected to challenge Watson. Both runners have posted personal bests in the 1:03’s.

Local runner Matt Clout, who finished fifth at the 2012 Canadian half-marathon championship, came in third.

Vancouver Island’s Catrin Jones won the women’s race in 1:17:34. Last year’s winner, Natasha Fraser, was touted to be the favourite going into the race, but had not committed to running the event. She is currently preparing for the cross-country world championships.

Ellie Greenwood, who is best known for her world class ultramarathon wins, came in second place in 1:18:44. Catherine Watkins rounded out the podium just behind Greenwood in 1:18:59.

Both Watson and Olympian Eric Gillis will represent Canada on the elite start list at Boston. They represent the country’s best runners to compete in the coveted marathon major in many years.