Blog #73

I was in Vancouver over the holidays this winter. Whilst I was there I met up with a guy named Darren for a run. I had never met Darren but we had mutual friends so we hit the trails along the waterfront for a nice little run. As we were running we got to talking about running and such. It was immediately obvious that Darren was one of those guys who is just positive as hell and a friendly as a sonofabitch. I liked him right away.

We got to talking about running, our goals and aspirations and whatnot. I was talking about Rotterdam and my Olympic dreams. He mentioned that he had a big goal of qualifying for the Fukuoka marathon one day. The qualifying time was 2:42:00.  It was an ambitious goal for Darren at the time, but his excitement and positiveness got to me, so without thinking I immediately offered to pace him to his 2:42:00 whenever he needed it done.

Well fast forward 5months.  Yesterday Darren and I lined up at the start of the Toronto Marathon, the time had come, 2:41:59 or bust.  Darren had put in a tonne of hard work over the past 5months and he was ready to give 2:42 a shot.

We were joined by Dan and Mike, two of Darren’s teammates, they had also been rolling and were ready for some solid runs of their own.

The dudes had agreed that due to the nature of the course they would go out kinda fast and then settle in as things got going. The gun goes off and we get on our merry way. Oh yeah, So Bill Rodgers was there at the race, he shot the gun off. I was tempted to try to win the race so that I could impress Bill and get to talk to him, that man is a badass!

Back to race. So we get going, early on we were just cruising, we were right on pace and the dudes were chill and relaxed. It was cool. The guys were working together very well. I was just kinda running off to the side letting them do their thing. Every so often I would just chime in with some encouraging words.

At around 20km Dan figured that he had caught a flyer and he was ready to roll, he took off.  He was looking good, the rest of us wished him well and he was off to break new ground. Just Mike, Dan and myself cruising through the streets of Toronto at this point. The Dudes rolled through the half at 1:18:01, a solid minute ahead of their goal. I was proud, they were going for the good ole’ FFTF strategy, nice.

At around 28km Mike also decided that he was on for a good one, so he took off. He was moving well, we wished him the best. Now it was just Darren and I, the weather was getting warm and the legs were getting heavy.

Usually I am a pretty calm and collected guy. I don’t get to excited and worked up very often, but when I do, I become very loud and very obnoxious. I also have pretty dirty mouth, this fact is exasperated as I become more and more excited, eff this and eff that all damn day!

At around 30km Darren was still moving pretty well, we were still on target for sub 2:42 but we were starting to lose a few seconds each km. By 32km is was obvious that Darren was starting to hurt pretty good, it was also obvious that we were going to be cutting it close!

I knew how much Darren wanted this time and I knew how much work he had put in to get to this point. I had also just run 32km with the guy. So needless to say I was emotionally invested to his cause, I was starting to get a little worked up. By 34km I had upped the level of verbal support and encouragement. Darren was digging, he was holding it together but he was not having much fun at all.

By 37km Darren had gone dark and I was no longer encouraging him, I had just started to straight up berate him, I was like a gosh darn drill sergeant out there. I’m so sorry to anyone we ran by in that last 5km and had to witness/hear me yelling at my poor, suffering friend. I was a friggen maniac.

Darren: “ughhh…blughhh…gahhhh”


So that last 5km was pretty rad, Darren was all balls man. He was brilliant and he dug very, very deep. We rolled around the last bend and homeboy brought it in in a solid 2:41:53. Bam, mission accomplished! Great stuff!

I was pumped after, so happy that Darren performed so well and crushed his goal…by 6 seconds! Darren, well Darren was pretty much a zombie for the next hour or so, it was brilliant. Marathons are hilarious. It was a great day all around for the Longboat crew. Dan rolled a huge PB with a 2:36:59 and Mike came through in 2:40:51 despite going off course for a good 800m (I know it’s hard to put on such a big event, but there were certainly some problems with the course at points). My boy Anthony also rolled a 2:45. We celebrated with many beers and cookies after.


I had a lot of fun running that marathon yesterday. I love the road racing scene man, so many positive vibes. It was so cool to see the joy and exhilaration on all the finishers faces. There is so much pain and so much suffering, but after all is said and done the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction makes all that hard work worth it.

That it something that I absolutely love about running. No matter how fast you run, and no matter your goals. When you get in a race, especially a marathon there is going to be a point where you are gonna have to dig deep, you are really going to have to go dark at times. All of us runners experience this sensation. It is at these times when it is all on you, it is a very personal and unique experience, you learn a lot about yourself. Sometimes you hit your goals, and sometimes you don’t. But it is a great feeling walking (or hobbling) away knowing you gave it your all and you fought a good, honest fight.

When Darren was just holding on and suffering yesterday he didn’t let the pain and the suffering win. He fought back and he gave it all he had, and ultimately he hit his goal. I learned a lot yesterday, it was really an awesome and inspiring experience.

Alright, so two more weeks in southern Ontario folks. Then I’m off to Colorado to run the Boulder Bolder, then some training in Colorado/Flagstaff before I settle down in the Vancouver. Exciting stuff, but sadly I had to sell my car yesterday.

I loved that car so much, it was an oldy but a goody. That car and I have been all over North America together. Sure the passenger door is damn near impossible to open, the front fog light was destroyed by flying ice and the sound system consisted of a tape deck and some blown speakers. That car had character man, gonna miss my Dieter…cue Green Day’s “Good Riddance”

My boy Dieter and I, love that car.

Alright, well I’m back to serious training again. Gonna go blast my core. Have a great week folks!



May 2012


COMMENTS 36 Comments

36 Responses to “Blog #73”

  1. Tim says:

    “…at 37km I just started to straight up berate him…”

    I laughed so hard at that. Once again, you’re proving why your one of my favorite runners to watch. You actually have a sense of humor that a lot of pros don’t. There’s more to running than just running…

    Glad to see you’re back in action again man. Have fun in Flagstaff, train hard, meet some people, have fun. You deserve it, bro.

    Keep on keep’n on,

    • rob says:

      Hey Tim,
      Thanks a lot dude. I hear ya, I have met plenty of people who just take this sport way to seriously, they are generally boring and lame. I’m really just in it for the post race beers and pretty runner girls.
      I’m gonna keep on keeping on for sure, you do the same.
      Cheers man.


  2. Vitamin B says:

    Way to get your boy to the line on time Rob! I hope to one day get a run in with the famous Rob The Destroyer Watson

    FYI I shamelessly tried to steal the ‘The Destroyer’ nick name however my teammates would have none of it.

    • rob says:

      haha, your teammates are good people! There are plenty of awesome nicknames you can go with, but you can’t give yourself a nickname, that’s poor form.
      Here’s what ya gotta do;
      find a homeless guy and pay him to call you by a certain desired nickname. Then go for runs with your teammates and make sure to run by this homeless guy often. Every time you run by the homeless guy will be like “oh, here comes ThunderFist!” (or whichever nickname you have chosen) it will be hilarious and random, your teammates will have no choice but to accept that as your new nickname. Do it.
      Good luck man, I don’t know where ya live, but if I’m ever in your area we’ll get in a run for sure.


  3. Anthony says:

    Great blog dude! Laughed my balls off.

    Another photo my wife took made your blog! She’s well impressed.
    Good times yesterday.The race was good too!

    • rob says:

      Hey Anthony,
      Louise take great race pics man. I should have given her a photo credit shout out. Yesterday was a great day all around. The Longboat crew is a great group. Happy recovery my man.


  4. Nicole says:

    Great blog Rob…I enjoy your writing style, makes me laugh.

    Nice job on getting Darren to the finish line yesterday too- I have a twin and she does the same for me during races. Its appreciated.

    Good luck with the training and keep the blogs coming!

    • rob says:

      Hey Nicole,
      Thanks and glad ya like the blog! You and your twin could just tag in and out of races, no one would notice…wait, I’m sorry. That was a terrible, horrible unoriginal twin joke. The “Run Forrest Run” of twin jokes if you will. I apologize I am better than that…man, just brutal.
      Anyways, I’ll keep the blogs rolling, keep coming back!


  5. Serge says:

    Man, that picture of you yelling at him is hilarious. Can’t stop laughing damn it.

    • rob says:

      Hey Serge,
      I’m not gonna lie, that was literally exactly what was happening. I wish someone had video, it was funny/scary.

  6. Alex says:

    Another rad blog Rob. This is why you are my favourite runner to follow. You take the sport seriously but not to that extreme level where it is no longer fun. Reading your blog makes me laugh every time. Good luck out West, good old London is gonna miss ya. Wish you all the best in the future, and hope one day to see you run in person!

    • rob says:

      Hey Alex,
      Thanks a lot man. There is a time when this sport is work, but there is also times to play. Keeping things balanced and in perspective is key to keeping it pure and clean. I mean, it’s running man, it’s not life or death. we’re all so lucky that we can do this.
      The Ontario has been good to me, hoping the West Coast can keep me happy and rolling also.
      Hope to see ya out there on the roads one day.


  7. Lisa says:

    Never stop blogging, tweeting, or kicking ass. You continue to be hilarious and inspiring. Cheers on pacing a great run and congrats to Darren! That’s the best race photo I’ve ever seen.

    • rob says:

      Hey Lisa thanks a lot. I’m committed for at least the next 4 years, so I’ll continue to be all over the social media. That photo is just great eh? Oh Darren, what a great run for him.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I like the fact that your mission that day was to help your friend meet his goal, especially in a race that you could have very easily won. Good Karma. Maybe someday you could help me drag my pathetic butt around a marathon course in 3 and a half hours.

    • rob says:

      Hey Anon,
      Thanks a lot, Darren is a great dude, I was more than happy to help. I had a great time pacing, maybe I’ll get at it more often, maybe I’ll see ya out there one day and we can roll together.

  9. Anthony says:

    Love that story, dude. Reminds me of when I offered to sherpa a buddy to a Boston qualifier time at the Van marathon. He and a few of his running crew were trying to hit 3:10. Gun goes, they all take off at around 2:55 pace. I trot along behind saying things like, “Steady boys. Might wanna dial it back a titch.” My buddy gets to 20 miles on 3 hour pace, which would’ve been like a 17 minute pb. He’s stoked. Comments on how easy and great he is feeling. God reaches down and punches him in the sack, causing his wheels to commence falling off. I reassure him that he’s banked a lot of time, just needs to take it steady and focus on the task at hand. All useless bullshit when you are trying to burrow face first through a concrete Wall. At 23 miles he pukes copiously. I refuse to let him stop, just pushing him along from behind and shouting, “Keep moving!” like some guard at Dachau as he pukes all over his shoes. We head up over the Burrard Bridge for the last few kms. He’s constantly dry heaving, but I make sure his feet never stop moving and I barrage him with encouragement and mini goals like if we make it to that post in the next minute you will easily hit your target. We don’t get to the post in a minute. It’s all slipping away. As we come down the last stretch, with less than 250 metres to go I’m shouting that if he kicks hard he might make it. He’s not going to kick hard. It starts to hail. Fucking chunks of ice are battering this poor exhausted puke stained fuck as he inches toward the line, his head thrown back at an alarming angle. It’ll be a miracle if he doesn’t stroke out on his feet and die right there on the road. As we cross the finish line the announcer says nothing about my buddy. Instead, he mentions my name and then says, “Wow, not sure why HE had such a bad performance today!” Lots of fun. Once my friend recovered he was totally thrilled with his new personal best. It’s all about pushing yourself to places you didn’t think you actually wanted to go. Onward To Rio, dude.

    • rob says:

      haha man, that is a great story. Your friend is a champ! I love the marathon, it has the ability to just break ya down so hard! Gotta respect the distance. But for some reason we keep coming back, because there is always that ‘what if’ aspect and the things that can be tweaked to make the next one that much better.
      Thanks for sharing man,


  10. Anonymous says:


    Nice thing you did for that Darren dude. Someday when you are an old fart, you’ll sit down with a case of Fat Tire and a bag of Nutter Butters and reflect on your running career. Fondly, you will remember that day in Brazil in 2016 when you shared a podium with Reid and a small African man. But right behind that memory will be the memory of that special day in Toronto in 2012 when, together, you and Darren accomplished something special.

    • rob says:

      Thanks Anon,
      Nutter Butters are delicious, good call on those!
      Sunday was indeed one of the highlights of my running career thus far. I had so much fun out there, it was a good day.
      Also it was the best long run I’ve ever had. I think I gotta just find marathons to do and people to pace whenever I have a long one on schedule, so much easier and fun in a race atmosphere!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I am sure you noticed your 35k split. How’s that for a punch in the dick.

  12. Edgemont Dave says:

    Great story, Rob. Nothing like having a good pacer. Have fun in Vancouver. Beautiful town, great running weather year round.

    Meanwhile, after 16 weeks of hard training (for me), I nailed my goal at NJ on Sunday: serious BQ, 3:03:51! Next stop, crack the 3 barrier. Get into the same hour as guys like you, Geoffrey Mutai, and your buddy Darren. I see a nice journey to my “dark place” ahead, but the glory, cookies and beer afterwards will make it all worth it.

    • rob says:

      Hey Dave,
      Congrats man! Great run, now you are on the cusp of sub-3, Keep the momentum going and build upon your fitness and you’ll smash a sub 3 for sure!
      Great marathons all over North America this past weekend, cookies and beer my man, that’s what it’s all about.

  13. Jenn says:

    Another hilarious blog post, Rob. Nicely done on the pacing! I’m sure your friend was thankful for the military style verbal beating you gave him – at least after he crossed the finish line! It is always hard when you hit that black wall during a race. You’re not always in the best mental space to accept “encouragement” and/or verbal thrashings from well intentioned pacer friends! But all’s well that ends well, right?! That picture was pretty f’n classic as well. Good luck at the Boulder Bolder!

    • rob says:

      Thanks Jenn,
      Yeah, during the race I’m sure Darren wanted to punch me, but he was inculpable of any such action, I think he was a little upset at me all day, But now we’re good…I think.

  14. MJM says:

    This could be a future career move for you… find some type-A stockbroker types desperate to crack 3/BQ and charge ‘em $2000 a pop to pace/berate them to glory!

    • rob says:

      I’m down for that. I gotta get in my weekly long run, why not cash in on it!
      Seriously though, I’m happy to help out anyone free of charge, just hook me up with post run beer and cookies!

  15. Three Cheeks says:

    Awesome of you to pace a buddy like that, props. On an unrelated note, thanks for getting me into HWM. I’m not really a fan of punkish tunes but ever since you posted that music/marathon blog a while back I took a listen and kept checking out their songs until now they’re a regular part of my ipod. LOVE flight and a crash. that album is sick

    • rob says:

      Three Cheeks, I am so happy that you dig HWM. That band is literally one of my favourite things in the world. I’ve seen em live 6 times, even have a HWM tattoo on my wrist! If they’re within driving distance go see them live, it’ll change your life.
      “Oh but fucker ya you’ll get yours!”

  16. leo says:

    Another hilarious blog entry – I was trying to control my laughter (in my office – not a lot of laughs around here) while reading it. I also thought that Anthony’s related story was really, really funny.
    I was thinking the same thing as what MJM wrote – I would guess a lot of people would pay to get paced by a legendary blogger/runner. I’ve never had much of a taste for long races – but you’re comments make the marathon sound..interesting at least – maybe one day.

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