Cam Levins has shattered the elusive Canadian marathon record.
The 29-year-old from Black Creek, B.C., ran two hours nine minutes 25 seconds in the Toronto Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon in his marathon debut. He was also crowned the national marathon champion as the first Canadian across the finish line.
Jerome Drayton set the previous record, one of the oldest on the books, of 2:10:09 in 1975.
“Reality is, with 3K left I knew I could do it and with half a kilometre left, I was certain it was going to happen,” said Levins. ”I was just enjoying the moment.”
Levins earned a bonus of $43,000 — $1,000 for every year the record stood — for breaking the mark.
Benson Kipruto of Kenya won the gold in 2:07:24, with Levins finishing fourth overall. Hamilton’s Reid Coolsaet was 10th in 2:17.37 in the men’s race.
Kinsey Middleton of Guelph, Ont., won the Canadian women’s title in 2:32:09. She was seventh among all women.
Levins’ victory comes after a couple of injury-plagued seasons for the Olympian. Levins was Canada’s best distance runner on the track for several seasons, running both the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the London Olympics, and capturing bronze in the 10,000 at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
But he injured his ankle while crossing the finish line of the 1,500 metres at the 2015 Canadian championships. The injury required surgery and wiped out the better part of the next two seasons.
“It just makes it that much more sweet, entering the last 10 kilometres of this race I was thinking to myself that ‘I’m going to take back my career, I’m going to be back to the athlete I know I can be,’” said Levins.
Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press