Cam Levins reflects on his marathon debut, the Canadian record, and what it means for his family
As Canada’s Cam Levins crossed the finish line of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in a Canadian record time of 2:09:25, he let out a cry of emotion. At that moment, everyone knew Cam Levins was back, including himself.
“Crossing the finish line, it was elation. More than the Canadian record, more than anything else, that [cry] was from what I had been through, “Levins began. “It was very emotional for me and my family just knowing how low it had been in the middle of 2016 after surgery, it really felt like I was starting over. To be considered being back as an elite athlete, it just meant everything.”
His 2018 season will be marked as a turning point in his life. Running in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October, Levins’ marathon debut opens up a new event for his career after years of uncertainty and doubt.
As a member of the 2012 Olympic team, Levins ran in the 5,000-metre and 10,000-metre races. This year’s marathon caps off a long journey back from a serious foot injury that occurred during the 2015 Canadian championships, forcing the Black Creek, B.C native to miss the majority of two seasons.
After getting to know the marathon from his teammates, and being told he won’t really know it until he tries it himself, Levins, now 29, chose the Toronto marathon as his debut. Evaluating his race afterwards, he says he felt relaxed and at ease until he crossed the finish line as the new Canadian record-holder in the marathon, surpassing Jerome Drayton’s record of 2:10:09 set back in 1975.
Embracing his wife and parents after the race, Levins describes how not only has it been a long journey for himself, but also everyone around him. He credits his family and their continued support for his 2018 return and success, physically and also mentally.
“My wife often tells me how far I’ve come. It’s easy to get lost in where you want to be versus where you are, especially when you’ve been there before. In many ways, it felt like I was back at square one again after surgery. Having someone there, remind you ‘Hey you’re doing great, you’re still moving forward, as long as you’re doing that, you’ll reach wherever you want to be,’ my wife was huge for that. My parents and the rest of my family were a source of continued belief.”
Cam’s brother, Jordan was also running in the marathon, finishing in a time of 2:59:10. Having the two run and train together, Cam was able to share his tips with Jordan making it a special experience leading up to the race. “It’s been fun to share our buildup and everything together. It would have been special to have him there in any circumstance but to have him enjoy running as well, it’s really exciting.”
Levins has Tokyo 2020 in his sights, even jokes about how he's compete as a hurdler if that's what it takes. But he also understands there’s still a long way to go and will be a step-by-step process. He plans on running in more marathons come spring as a lead up to Canadian nationals. For now, he’s enjoying the rest of 2018, highlighted by that race on a chilly Toronto day in October, and excited about what 2019 holds for him.
“I wanted to take back my career. That final 10k defined my comeback. I pushed really hard, I ran strongly to the end of the race. To be in control of my running, to feel that way again, that was a big moment.”