17-Jun) -- NCAA 5000m and 10,000m champion Cam Levins of Southern Utah University has signed a professional sponsorship deal with Nike. The high-mileage Canadian, who is likely to double at the London Olympic Games in the same events, said today that he's grateful for Nike's support and was bowled over by the size of the first equipment shipment he received at his home.
"Getting huge boxes outside my house was quite the surprise," Levins said in a telephone interview with Race Results Weekly from his grandmother's house in Victoria. "I think they asked me what I wanted just so they could overwhelm me. I felt bad for the FedEx guy who had to deliver it."
Levins, 23, from Black Creek, B.C, had a breakout year, setting personal best times from 1500 to 10,000 meters. In addition to the NCAA titles he won last weekend, Levins won the Mt. SAC Relays 5000m in 13:18.47 and the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational 10,000m in 27:27.96, recording Olympic Games "A" standard times in both races. Those performances all but guarantee his selection to the Canadian Olympic Team, although he still needs to compete in the Canadian Olympic Trials in Calgary at the end of June where he will run only the 5000m.
"There's lots of dreams and goals I've chased and set for myself, but I don't think any of those have been as longstanding as running in the Olympics," Levins marveled. "It's the culmination of years and years of chasing, chasing my Olympic dreams."
Calling his summer series of meets his "second season," Levins said he still has plenty of energy to take on the Olympic Games and a few invitational meets which his manager, Ray Flynn, will arrange.
"I feel strong, still," he said. "I feel really excited to do all these other races. I think I'll be ready to go."
Levins came into this 2012 season with modest credentials. Seventh at the NCAA Championships in 2011 at 5000m and only possessing a career best of 13:40.30, he said that the turning point came at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston last February. There, he finished fifth in a very competitive 3000m race, clocking a big personal best of 7:45.75.
"Seven forty-five's not joking around," Levins said. "I felt it really prepared me for that outdoor season. Also, it was my first race against professional runners. It gave me an idea how some of the best race."
For now, Levins has decided to remain in Cedar City, Utah, where he attended school and was coached by Eric Houle.
"My plan is to stay in Cedar for another year," Levins explained. "It depends I guess if Nike would like me to go somewhere else. He continued: "I don't know if things will change. If not, I have my plan and I'll stick to it."