The 43-year-old Canadian marathon record has finally been toppled. Cam Levins, a native of Black Creek, B.C., smashed the record in his debut race at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, running a time of 2:09:25 to finish fourth overall. The former record, 2:10:09, was set by Jerome Drayton in 1975 at the Fukuoka Marathon. As payment, Levins will receive $43,000—$1,000 for every year the record has stood.
Levins, the former 10,000m Canadian record holder (27:07.51), switched to racing on the roads about a year ago after suffering a debilitating foot injury. Prior to that, he had been an NCAA Division I champion in the 5,000m and 10,000m for Southern Utah University and represented Canada at the 2012 Olympic Games, before joining the Nike Oregon Project with Alberto Salazar. There, he trained alongside Olympic champions Mo Farah and Matt Centrowitz, and Olympic silver and bronze medallist Galen Rupp. But, in 2017, after missing qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games and struggling through injury, Levins left the Nike Oregon project and returned to his university coach Eric Houle.
Earlier this year, Levins signed a sponsorship deal with athletic shoe company Hoka One One, and, in March, ran a personal best half marathon of 1:02:15, finishing 30th at the IAAF Half Marathon Championships in Valencia, Spain. His half marathon time coupled with the fact that Levins is once again running nearly 270 kilometres a week, make it no real surprise that he did break the record. “I’m taking back my career right now,” Levins said after breaking the record.
Fellow Canadian and two-time Olympian Reid Coolsaet, finished a few minutes behind Levins in a time of 2:17:36. The 39-year-old Hamilton native has been chasing Drayton’s record for nearly a decade, coming within 19 seconds of it in 2015 when he finished sixth at the Berlin Marathon in a time of 2:10:28. But with the emergence of Levins onto the marathon scene, it’s looking like the torch has been passed. “We need a faster national record,” Coolsaet said during the press conference Friday before the race, “and if we have guys with the caliber like Cam coming up to the marathon ranks, then it’s a matter of time before it goes.”
Kenya’s Benson Kipruto took the overall win, running a time of 2:07:25. Kipruto pulled away from the field around 35km into the race, stretching his lead as the race progressed.