Levins to double at national championships, takes on the 1500m and 5,000m distances

June 30, 2015 0

See nationals discussion thread here.

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Like Nike Oregon Project teammate Mo Farah, Cameron Levins is known as a 5,000 and 10,000-metre distance specialist. They have competed in these two events to the highest level, including at the 2012 London Olympics. Levins competed in the 10,000m at the 2013 Moscow IAAF World Track and Field Championships, while again Farah did the double.

Levins ran to a respectable 11th in the 10,000m and 14th in the 5,000m in London, while Farah won gold in both. Farah went onto win gold in both distances again at the Moscow worlds. But, he really caught the attention of the worldwide running community when he ran the 1500m distance in July of 2013 at the Monaco Diamond League meet, finishing in a truly world class time of 3:28.81. This is fast for a 1500m specialist, but for a long distance athlete, it is mind-boggling. It is the European record.

Only six men have run faster. The world record is 3:26.00 by the legendary Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj, who specialised at the distance. Only two athletes have run faster than Farah since, Kenyans Asbel Kiprop with his time of 3:28.45 and Silas Kiplagat who ran as fast as 3:27.64, both in 2014.

Next week, Levins will be racing both the 1500 and the 5,000m events at the 2015 Canadian Track and Field Championships in Edmonton. “Yes I am going to double at nationals. I am just looking to work on my speed and be competitive over the last lap. Obviously I always want to win, but if I pull off a great race tactically and I am still beaten then I think it’s still a success,” said Levins.

There will be no 10,000m men’s event.

In May of 2015, Levins broke Simon Bairu’s national record of 27:23.63 with his time of 27:07.51. Everyone knew it was coming, it was just a matter of time before Levins was injury free, healthy from colds and flus and fit all at the same time, something he didn’t have the luxury of in London or Moscow.

It is expected that Levins will get under the 27-minute barrier soon, on the right day. It is anticipated that Levins will also crack the 13-minute barrier for the 5,000m distance. He owns the second fastest Canadian time with his 13:15.19 from 2013. Jeff Scheibler still owns that record with his 13:13.96, from 1998 – two years ago Scheibler bet – for charity – a donation of $1000 if Levins would take his record. It will happen soon, however, Levins has bigger plans this summer than breaking records at the 2015 Canadian Track and Field Championships.

The second fastest active 5,000m runner Mohammed Ahmed, is also scheduled to run. He is the only true Canadian contemporary for Levins at this time with his best of 13:18.88.

So at nationals Levins will work on his speed by running the 1500m event. His best at the distance is pretty fast for a distance man at 3:36.88.

Levins is known for his finishes. His NCAA championship win was won with a brilliant sprint finish as was his national record.

Purely for conjecture, according to the IAAF scoring tables, Levins’ best event so far is the 10,000m with his 27:07.51. It is scored at 1215 points. To run the 5,000m race at that performance level, Levins would need to run about 12:58.66, clearing Scheibler’s record by 15 seconds. Should Levins run near his 10,000m ability in the 1500m, he would be able to finish in about 3:32.13. The Canadian record from 2000 was set by Brantford’s Kevin Sullivan at 3:31.71.

Interestingly in 2013 when Levins ran his 13:15.19, which is equivalent to a 27:45.34 10,000m, later that summer in Moscow, Levins ran the 10,000m in 27:47.89, the same season he ran 3:36.89. In other words, all three races were at the same performance level.

Global championship events do not always produce the fastest times, so this summer we may not see Levins break more records; however, it will be interesting to see how fast fellow Canadian Nate Brannen will take out the 1500m, as he needs to qualify by time and placement at nationals. The standard is 3:36.20, Brannen’s best is 3:34.22 from 2012. Brannen’s season best is 3:37.68. If Brannen takes the 1500m out fast enough or Levins does, we may see a very exciting final lap.

Brannen is a two-time Olympian and has represented Canada at least a dozen times at IAAF World events including indoor and outdoor track, World Cups and world cross-country as a junior.

Several other athletes will make the 1500m event interesting for second and third place, including Speed River’s Ross Proudfoot with his best of 3:39.62 from June of this year, teammate Jeremy Rae who also broke the 3:40 barrier with his 3:39.90 this season and UVic Vike Thomas Riva who has run as fast as 3:40.88. The athlete who may very well give Brannen a run for his money is Quebec City native Charles Philibert-Thiboutot, who has run as fast as 3:38.32 this season.

“Seeing how my teammate Mo Farah has run a 3:28 and is still a 5,000 and 10,000m runner, I think that a fast 1500m will just be helpful for my finish in my main distances,” shared Levins.

Considering how none of the aforementioned athletes have run the qualification standard to date and July 5th is the final day to do so, nationals may produce a thrilling 1500m final.

Athletics Canada will be streaming the entire meet live at AthleticsCanada.tv.

See the full list of 1500m competitors, here.

See nationals discussion thread here.

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