LevinsFlash© Copyright – 2014 – Athletics Illustrated

Canadian Cameron Levins broke the national indoor 5000m record today at Boston University by finishing in 13:19.16, improving on his own personal best time by nearly 19 seconds, which was 13:38.12 and almost two years old. The national record was previously owned by Jason Bunston and was 13:25.87 from 1997.

In the same race, Nike Oregon Project (NOP) teammate Galen Rupp took down the American record that was held by Lopez Lomong at 13:07.00; Rupp won the race in the time of 13:01.26. Sam Chelanga was second in a new personal best of 13:04.35, which was previously 13:09.67.

Levins led the race for 800-metres after the rabbit stepped off the track around the 2500-metre mark, that’s when Rupp took over for good.

How many Canadian records can Levins takedown? He has run the second-fastest 10,000-metre time with his 27:27.96 from the 2012 Prefontaine Classic. Regina’s Simon Bairu owns the record at 27:23.63. Bairu is also a Nike-sponsored athlete and also set the record at the same track at Stanford University, two years earlier.

Bunston’s best outdoor time is 13:22.08. Levins’s personal best outdoors is 13:15.19, which he achieved in his June 1st, 2013 5,000-metre record attempt at the Pre in Eugene, Oregon. At that race, Levins was looking to take down Jeff Scheibler’s national record of 13:13.96 from 1998.

The Canadian 3000-metre record is held by Branford, Ontario’s Kevin Sullivan from 2008 – he is a three-time Olympian with 32, sub-four-minute miles to his credit – any way in 2008 he ran that 3000m in 7:41.61 in Stockholm, Sweden. Sullivan also owns the mile and 1500-metre records that he set in 2000, they are  3:31.71 and 3:50.26. Sullivan’s records will be difficult to beat, as the distance requires slightly different training than do the longer races, however, Salazar-trained English athlete, Mo Farah showed incredible range by winning double Olympic Gold in London in the 5,000 and 10,000-metre distances then set the British and European record for the 1500-metres by running 3:28.81, this was a magnificent performance that shocked the running world.

In 1975, Jerome Drayton set the Canadian marathon record of 2:10:09 in Fukuoka, Japan; it stands today. The half-marathon record was set by Schiebler in 1999 and remains at 61:28.

The old and slightly slow Canadian marathon record, in comparison to the current world record, appears pedestrian-like, but talented Canadian runners with better 10,000-metre times than Drayton’s haven’t been able to surpass that benchmark, yet. Levins’s 10,000-metre best of 27:27.96, according to the IAAF scoring tables his 10,000-metre time projects out to a 2:08:16 – a near two-minute improvement on Drayton’s record.

It has been nearly 49 years since the world record was slower than 2:10 and thirty-three years ago Australia’s legendary marathon runner Robert de Castella held the world record time of 2:08:18. Three years later Welshman Steve Jones bettered it to 2:08:05. One year later Portugal’s Carlos Lopes cracked the 2:08 barrier with his 2:07:12, none of them ran 10,000-metres faster than 27:32. Twenty-eight years later Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang ran the Berlin marathon in 2:03:23 – the current world record. To say that the Canadian marathon record is ready to be taken down is a mild understatement.

It is now common practice for East African distance runners to bypass the shorter events and go straight to the marathon. Kipsang’s 10,000-metre personal best is 28:37 and his road 10k best is 27:32, which illustrates the point; the disparity in bests between track and road and the longer distances demonstrates his rapid move to the money-making marathon event. His half-marathon best is 58:59. Patrick Makau, the previous world record holder in the marathon distance owns a 10,000-metre best equal to Levins’s at 27:27 however, he has run the half-marathon as fast as 58:52, a distance Levins has yet to race.

Ethiopia’s Haile Gebreselassie is now a bit of an anomaly, born in 1973 he was of the generation where distance runners developed their shorter distance ability first and as they got older progressed to the marathon. Gebreselassie’s 10,000m best is an outstanding 26:22.75 his 5,000 metre best is 12:39.36, which match perfectly and prove he worked at the shorter distances until improvements stopped. His half-marathon best is 58:55. Gebreselassie has an incredible range as his 1500-metre best is 3:33.73.

Levin’s Best over 10,000-metres is currently one of his better performances. According to the IAAF scoring tables, he is capable of running the 5,000-metres in 13:07, six seconds faster than Schiebler’s record. The Salazar coaching effect did not influence Levins’s 27:27. Given Levins’s age and time with Salazar at NOP, it is likely that his best 10,000-metres days are in front of him, as likely are all distances. Perhaps the bigger question is, can Levins crack into the 12-minute barrier for 5,000-metres and how close to 26-minutes could he get in the 10,000-metre event?

The above times indicate a 3,000-metre record performance of 7:39.01 is within his capability, improving on his own 8:00.99 and the current national record of 7:41.61. The 3000-metre steeplechase could prove to be one record that will be very difficult to take down, which is 8:11:60 and held by Matt Hughes, who took the record (previously Graeme Fells’ from 1985) during the 2013 IAAF World Track and Field Championships. According to the 1183 point value of the IAAF scoring tables, Levins’s best at this time would be 8:16.45, but again, I suggest Levins’s best days are in front of him as is the Salazar effect that produced gold and silver in the 2012 London Olympic 10,000-metres and gold in the 5,000-metres. It is likely that Levins can take the following national records if he chooses to pursue them and with Salazar’s exacting peaking methods, he could accomplish all in one season as well as less commonly contested distance such as 10 miles, 20k, 2000-metres among others:

Distance      CDN Record       Levin’s capability based on his 27:27.96.
3,000 metre 7:41.61 7:39
5,000 metre 13:14.0 13:07
10,000 metre 27:23.6 27:27:96
Half-marathon 62:28 60:00
Marathon 2:10:09 2:08:16
Results from Boston University
Event 35  Men 5000 M Run
   BU Record: M 13:37.32  3/3/2007    Josh McDougal, Liberty Uni
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
Galen Rupp 13:01.3
Sam Chelanga 13:04.3
Cameron Levins 13:19.2
Ruben sanca 13:39.3
Nick Karwoski 13:42.4
Jack Davies 14:59.3
Taylor Gilland      DNF
Rich Peters DNF
Levins’ personal bests
800m 1:50.88
800m ind. 1:50.81
1500m 3:36.87
1500m ind. 3:41.17
Mile 4:10.10
Mile ind. 3:57.16
3000m 8:01.99
3000m ind. 7:45.75
2 Miles ind. 8:14.69
5000m 13:15.21
5000m ind. 13:19.23
10,000m 27:27.96
Bunston’s personal bests
1500m 3:41.39
Mile 3:59.70
Mile ind. 3:59.56
3000m 8:01.93
3000m ind. 7:45.58
5000m 13:22.08
5000m ind. 13:25.87
10,000m  28:56.55
Schiebler’s personal bests
1500m 3:40.73
3000m 7:43.41
3000m ind.  8:16.88
5000m 13:13.96
10,000m 27:36.08
3000mSC 8:41.07
10 km Road 28:55
10 Miles Road 45:52
Half-Marathon 1:01:18