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Cam Levins annihilates Canadian record at 2023 Tokyo Marathon

Levins becomes the first Canadian runner to break 2:06, running to a fifth-place finish in Tokyo

Cam Levins Tokyo Marathon Photo by: Mika Tokairin/Japan Running News

On Sunday morning in Tokyo, Cam Levins of Campbell River, B.C., solidified himself as the fastest marathoner in North American history at the 2023 Tokyo Marathon, placing fifth in 2:05:36 to shatter his previous Canadian record of 2:07:09 and breaking the long-standing North American record of 2:05:38.

The 33-year-old marathoner has put Canadian distance running on the map, once again, nearly winning the Tokyo Marathon. Levins ran the perfect race, staying patient early on and making all the right moves to contend for the victory. 

With one kilometre to go, Levins was in a group of five runners vying for the win, but Ethiopia’s Deso Gelmisa sprinted away with 400m left, winning the 2023 Tokyo Marathon. 

It was an Ethiopian sweep of the podium in Tokyo, with Gelmisa taking the win in his first Abbott World Marathon Major, in 2:05:22. His compatriot, Mohamed Esa, finished one second back for second, and Tsegaye Getachew was third (2:05:25).

Levins said, going into the race, that he was shooting for a time of 2:05 after his spectacular half-marathon record run of 60:18 in early February. 

His time of 2:05:36 (pending ratification), breaks U.S. marathoner Khalid Khannouchi’s North American record of 2:05:38 from the 2002 London Marathon. American Ryan Hall is the only athlete to run faster than Levins, 2:04:58 at the 2011 Boston Marathon (though Boston is considered non-record-eligible by World Athletics since it is a net downhill, point-to-point course). 

cam levins at world championships marathon 2022
Cam Levins after breaking the Canadian record at World Athletics Championships, Eugene 2022. Photo: Marley Dickinson

Levins now has four of the six fastest Canadian marathon times in history.

In potentially her last major marathon, Canada’s Krista DuChene ran her fastest time in four years, clocking 2:38:53 for 19th overall. The last time DuChene, 46, broke the 2:40 mark was at the 2019 Berlin Marathon, where she ran 2:32:27.

You can view the full results from the 2023 Tokyo Marathon here.

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