Southern Utah University doesn’t just develop quick runners. They develop smart runners.
Black Creek’s Cam Levins, who brought numerous championships and NCAA records to his Div. 1 university school over the past several years, proved he was a quick learner at the 2012 London Olympics this week.
After finished 11th in Saturday’s (Aug. 4) 10,000m in his Olympics debut, the 23-year-old long distance specialist finished eighth in his heat of the 5,000m qualifiers on Wednesday (Aug. 8), with his personal best time of 13:18.29 qualifying him for this Saturday’s (Aug. 11) 5,000m final.
In a field of 43 men, Levins qualified with the eighth best time of the 15 headed to Saturday’s final.
“I’m glad to have made it through. I was more confident in the 5K than the 10K. I knew I just needed to get to the last lap and go,” Levins said. “Finishing 11th in the 10K provided me with a lot of experience and gave me a big confidence boost that I can race at this level.”
Levins strategy for the 10K was to to stay with the pack as long as possible and hope his kick could deliver a top-10 finish. That didn’t quite happen, but he came close.
Levins was in the mix the whole way, never losing contact through a series of surges, and finished 11th in 27:40.68 — not quite a personal-best six weeks after a leg injury, but easily a heroic performance as it was the best time ever by a Canadian in the event, much faster than the 32:36.20 that Joseph Keeper ran to take fourth at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics.
“I was almost thinking, like, ‘OK, when is the pace going to be so fast that I’m going to get thrown off the back of this?’” he said. “And even though the pace was going fast by the end, it never felt like I was going to lose them. I was tired going into the last lap and I got blown away … but I got there. I was pretty happy with it.”
Tomorrow’s 5K final goes at 11:30 a.m. PDT.
Meanwhile, Courtenay’s Geoff Kabush is gearing up to appear in his third consecutive Olympic Games. He races the men’s cross-country mountain bike event on the final day of competition on Sunday.
Kabush had a ninth-place finish in Sydney in 2000 and a top-20 result in Beijing in 2008. He has dominated the Canadian mountain bike scene, earning consecutive podium spots at the Canadian championships since 2004 – seven of them gold.
In 2011, Kabush finished in the top-10 at the World Championships in Champery, Switzerland. He competed in several World Cups and had three top-20 finishes.