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There is much anticipation in Canada about Vancouver Island’s Cameron Levins debuting in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 21.

In all likelihood, he will attempt to go for the national record of 2:10:09 that was set some 43-years-ago by Jerome Drayton at the Fukuoka Marathon.

Levins is one of the most likely Canadians to take down the record over the next few years. There are others like St. Catharine’s Mo Ahmed, who has run faster than Levins over the 5,000-metre and 10,000-metre distances. There is also a crop of young talent that is in university or recently graduated like NCAA champions Ben Flanagan from Kitchener and Justyn Knight of Toronto, amongst others.

Levins is the only one making the transition to the marathon at this time.

In the recent past, Antigonish’s Eric Gillis, as well as Guelph’s Reid Coolsaet and Vancouver’s Dylan Wykes have come close to breaking the record. With both Coolsaet and Wykes running sub-2:11 on several occasions.

Some athletes have trouble making the transition and there seems to be little understanding as to what transpires in the process, two of those Canadian athletes is the former national record holder in the 10,000-metres, Simon Bairu of Regina and Vancouver’s Jeff Schiebler, who once held the national 5,000-metre record before Ahmed broke it. Neither succeeded at the longer event and subsequently retired.

The Toronto event includes a strong field with Kenya’s Philemon Rono running; he set the Canadian All Comers’ record of 2:06:52 when he successfully defended his title last year, and Jake Robertson, a Kenya-based New Zealander whom Levins has got the better of on the track. Robertson set a national record of 2:08:26 and has said he wants to run nearer to 2:05, which brings up the question as to where Levins feels he belongs.

How he tackles the Toronto event, may be dictated by how he runs Sunday, Sept. 16 in Philadelphia at the half-marathon distance. In March, he ran a 62:15 in Valencia, which is fast but does not match his 10,000-metre best performance-wise. Perhaps the 29-year-old former Nike athlete was feeling out the distance and his fitness after a foot injury, which required surgery.

Asked if he would be running at marathon pace in Philadelphia, he said, “No.”

I’m not entirely certain of my specific race fitness just yet, but besides that, I know I’m in good shape. I’ll have a better idea of how fast I should be aiming post-Philadelphia and training nearer to the marathon. No real concrete race plan for the half marathon, but I would love to get in fast one,” shared Levins.

His 62:15, in theory, and according to the IAAF scoring tables suggests he can run a 2:13:27, a performance that is shy of his ultimate goal.

His 10,000-metre best of 27:07:51 points to a 2:07:04 give or take a few seconds. As a debut marathon is often an exploration of the distance, going for the national record, that is nearly three minutes slower, may be in the cards. First, though, he will need to tackle Philadelphia.

More about the Philadelphia event is viewable, here>>