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Cameron Levins from nearby Black Creek, BC (near Campbell River) is Canadian Marathon Champion and new national record holder 2:09:25. Photo: Twitter/Canadian Running Series.

Black Creek, BC’s Cameron Levins broke the 43-year-old Canadian Marathon record on Sunday in Toronto, finishing in the time of 2:09:25. He is also the 2018 Canadian Marathon Champion. For his record, he earns an extra $43,000 for every year that the marathon record has lasted in addition to whatever prize money he earned.

The previous record was set in 1975 by Jerome Drayton in the time of 2:10:09. Levins also finished fourth behind Kenyan Benson Kiptruto (2:07:24), Augustino Sulle (2:07:46) of Tanzania, and Kenyan Felix Kandie (2:08:30).

Reid Coolsaet of Guelph, ON finished 10th in the time of 2:17:37, until Sunday, he was the closest to breaking the long-running record having gone as fast as 2:10:28 during the 2015 edition of the Berlin Marathon. He had run several 2:10s over his career including a 2:10:55 in 2011 at Toronto. Five years later he ran that exact time again in at the Fukuoka Open Marathon Championships where Drayton had set the national record.

Levins started the race conservatively clocking a 30:45 first 10K, 44 seconds behind the lead pack. He continued to hold patient through half-way, with a 64:34 clocking.

It was a smartly run marathon, especially considering it was Levins’ debut.

Levins ran the final seven kilometres faster than any other runner, slowing down the least at approximately 2:10:30 pace over the final 7.1K.

The top women were Mimi Belete of Bahrain who finished in the time of 2:22:28. Ethiopian Marta Megra finished in second place in the time of 2:22:34, while Kenyan Ruth Chebitok crossed the line in 2:23:28.

The top Canadian was Kinsey Middleton. She crossed the line in the time of 2:32:09. London, ON’s Leslie Sexton was second (2:36:02), while Krista DuChene of Brantford was third and first master (40-plus) recording a 2:36:46.

For Middleton (nee Gomez), who lives in Boise, Idaho, it was her marathon debut, which is one of the fastest Canadian marathon debuts to date. Rachel Cliff of Vancouver owns that honour with her near national record of 2:28:53 from September. Vancouver’s Natasha Wodak paced Middleton to the half-way mark at 1:15:48.

For Levins, the performance was a breakthrough. He had run fast enough in the shorter distances that indicated he should be capable of running faster than the national record, however, suffered a foot injury that required surgery. It was a long road back for the two-time NCAA champion and former national record holder with his 10,000-metre best of 27:07:51 from 2015. He competed in the 2012 London Olympics and the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, but just could not come around to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

He attended Southern Utah University and proceeded to train up to 160 miles per week or 259 kilometres. Post-graduation, he signed on with Nike and the Nike Oregon Project under the direction of famed marathon runner Alberto Salazar.

Levins left Nike and signed on with Hoka and when he left Nike, he returned to his coach from SUU Eric Houle.

SHOESTRINGS: Victorians may recognize the names Rachel Cliff and Natasha Wodak, both of Vancouver, as they have raced several times in Victoria. Wodak, the national 10,000-metre record holder, set the Canadian 8K record in Saanich at the Prairie Inn Harriers Pioneer 8K in January 2015 with her 25:28 clocking. She also took the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Half Marathon record two weeks ago with her finish time of 1:11:44.

 

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