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Cam Levins shatters longstanding course record at Royal Victoria Half Marathon

On Sunday, Cam Levins raced close to his home of Black Creek, B.C., winning the Royal Victoria Half Marathon in a new course record time of 61:18 in front of his friends and family in preparation for the TCS New York City Marathon on Nov. 5. Levins broke the previous record of 62:32 held by two-time British Olympian Jon Brown, which stood for 21 years.

Running close to home meant Levins was able to race in front of his 94-year-old grandmother, Fern, and his parents, Barb and Gus, who came down from Black Creek. “I am so proud of him,” said Fern Levins of Esquimalt to the Victoria newspaper Times Colonist. “It’s not very often I get to see Cameron race live.”

“Vancouver Island will always be my home, so racing here is extra special,” said Levins. His finishing time on Sunday was a minute shy of his Canadian half-marathon record of 60:18, set at Vancouver’s First Half last February.

The 34-year-old marathoner was slated to race in the half-marathon at the 2023 World Road Running Championships in Riga, Latvia, on Oct. 1, but changed his plans two weeks before the championships, opting to race the Victoria half instead, rather than travelling internationally.

Levins finished nearly three minutes ahead of the second-place finisher, 2020 Olympic marathoner and reigning Canadian marathon champion Trevor Hofbauer, who ran to a personal best of 64:07. Kip Kangogo of Lethbridge, Alta., rounded out the podium for third in 67:46.

“I felt good about my effort today,” Levins told the Times Colonist. “It [Victoria] was definitely a hard course, much like New York, helping me to gauge, making me feel pretty good about my marathon.”

Makenna Fitzgerald of Calgary won the women’s half marathon in 1:17:30, beating second-place finisher Vancouver’s Eriko Soma by 58 seconds. Victoria’s own Carley Gering took the final spot on the podium for third in 1:18:57.

The 2023 TCS New York City Marathon will be Levins’s second marathon of the year. Last March, he broke his Canadian record in the marathon for the second time in less than a year by running 2:05:36 to place fifth in the Tokyo Marathon. This marked the fastest time ever recorded by a North American marathoner, beating Khalid Khannouchi’s mark of 2:05:38 from the 2002 London Marathon (which remains the American record). Levins’s Tokyo time was under the Olympic standard of 2:08:10 and qualified him for his third Olympic Games in Paris next July.

(10/11/2023) Views: 530 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Royal Victoria Marathon

Royal Victoria Marathon

We are one of Canada's premier running event, offering athletes an unmatchable running experience on the pristine West Coast. Our world-class, record-breaking course is designed by runners, for runners. As the only Certified Boston Qualifier on Vancouver Island, come join us to compete, to conquer and to move from warm-up to reward. ...

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Cam Levins to race close to home at Royal Victoria Half-Marathon

Canada’s marathon and half-marathon record holder Cam Levins has chosen to race close to home at the Royal Victoria Half-Marathon on Oct. 8, in his preparations for the 2023 TCS New York City Marathon on Nov. 5.

Last week, Levins pulled out of the half-marathon at the 2023 World Athletics Road Running Championships in Riga, Latvia. Levins said he underestimated how significant the travel and recovery would be to and from the event. The championships would be a 20-hour trip for Levins each way with two layovers if he flew from his home in Portland, Ore. Levins and his coach Jim Finlayson decided the long trip would not be ideal in his build for New York. 

Canada’s marathon and half-marathon record holder Cam Levins has chosen to race close to home at the Royal Victoria Half-Marathon on Oct. 8, in his preparations for the 2023 TCS New York City Marathon on Nov. 5.

Last week, Levins pulled out of the half-marathon at the 2023 World Athletics Road Running Championships in Riga, Latvia. Levins said he underestimated how significant the travel and recovery would be to and from the event. The championships would be a 20-hour trip for Levins each way with two layovers if he flew from his home in Portland, Ore. Levins and his coach Jim Finlayson decided the long trip would not be ideal in his build for New York. 

The half-marathon will be close to home for Levins, who grew up three hours north of Victoria in Black Creek, B.C., where his parents, Gus and Barb Levins, still reside.

The Royal Victoria Marathon weekend is experiencing a resurgence after being disrupted by the pandemic. Last year saw the long-awaited return of the marathon, with 7,934 participants coming back after the pandemic hiatus. This year, organizers are optimistic about the event’s growth, aiming to reach 10,000 participants.

In March, the 34-year-old broke his Canadian marathon record for the second time in less than a year, clocking an impressive 2:05:36 for fifth place at the 2023 Tokyo Marathon. This was also the fastest time ever recorded by a North American, surpassing American Khalid Khannouchi’s 2:05:38 from the 2002 London Marathon.

Levins’s remarkable run in Tokyo not only met the Olympic standard of 2:08:10 but also secured his spot on Team Canada’s marathon squad for the 2024 Paris Olympics next July. His journey to the 2023 New York Marathon in November is all in preparation for his pursuit of Olympic glory in Paris, which is expected to be one of the most difficult Olympic marathon courses to date.

(09/21/2023) Views: 430 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Royal Victoria Marathon

Royal Victoria Marathon

We are one of Canada's premier running event, offering athletes an unmatchable running experience on the pristine West Coast. Our world-class, record-breaking course is designed by runners, for runners. As the only Certified Boston Qualifier on Vancouver Island, come join us to compete, to conquer and to move from warm-up to reward. ...

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Royal Victoria Marathon adds a 5K for 2023

This year’s Royal Victoria Marathon is set to take place on the weekend of Oct. 7-8, and in addition to the marathon, half-marathon, 8K and kids’ run, the race will be adding a 5K for the first time. Also, events will be staggered across two days, with the Oak Bay 5K and Thrifty Kids Run taking moving to the city’s Oak Bay neighbourhood on Saturday, Oct. 7. The marathon, half-marathon and 8K will take place, as usual, on Sunday, Oct. 8, starting and finishing in downtown Victoria.

The Oak Bay 5K will follow an out-and-back course along the Esplanade, Estevan and Beach Drive, starting and finishing at Willows Park. Registration is $30; the race is chip-timed, and registrants will receive a finisher’s medal and toque.

The RVM is celebrating the arrival of the 5K and helping participants prepare for the race by partnering with thetrackclub.ca to offer a one-month training program for the 5K, including four in-person sessions at the Pacific Institute for Sport Education (PISE).

The Thrifty Foods Kids Run will also start and finish at Willows Park. Registration is $25, with proceeds to KidSport Greater Victoria. Registrants may choose between a souvenir toque and reflective light, race bag and race number.

“We are excited to be adding a new distance to our lineup this year and hosting both the 5K and the Thrifty Foods Kids Run in Oak Bay,” RVM race director and general manager Cathy Noel said in a press release. “Moving the events to Oak Bay allows us to show off this wonderful community as well as provide an opportunity for participants to take part in a shorter event on the Saturday, and if feeling up for the challenge, take on one of our other distances on the Sunday!”

KidSport Greater Victoria executive director Jill Shaw added that the move to Willows Park on Saturday would “provide a safe and exciting space for our youngest participants. For those past Kids Run participants who are now ready for the challenge of a little more distance than the Kids Run route offers, the 5K is a fantastic stepping stone.” 

The race’s Community Challenge charity program, which will return for its 19th year this year, has raised over $2.5 million for partner charities.  

(05/05/2023) Views: 511 ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Royal Victoria Marathon

Royal Victoria Marathon

We are one of Canada's premier running event, offering athletes an unmatchable running experience on the pristine West Coast. Our world-class, record-breaking course is designed by runners, for runners. As the only Certified Boston Qualifier on Vancouver Island, come join us to compete, to conquer and to move from warm-up to reward. ...

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2021 Royal Victoria Marathon eyes live return in October with half marathon, 8K

The first announced live in-person road race on the Island in more than a year and a half will take place Oct. 10 with an abbreviated version of the Royal Victoria Marathon.

The full marathon will not take place but half-marathon and 8K distances will be run. Instead of a water bottle half-empty, organizers say it’s a water bottle half-full for event-starved runners.

“Lots of people will be excited to lace-up their shoes and start training for their first in-person race for over 18 months,” said Jonathan Foweraker, president of the Victoria Marathon Society, in a statement.

Race director Cathy Noel concurred: “It’s a great way to get back to a sense of normality in our community. Many of our enthusiastic volunteers are returning and will be cheering everyone throughout the race. We are very excited to return to an in-person race and know that runners will be equally thrilled to get to a start line and experience the excitement that builds prior to the gun going off.”

Despite the re-opening of sports, there are logistical reasons for not staging the full marathon distance, say the organizers.

“The marathon has traditionally attracted participants not only from Victoria and Vancouver but across Canada and abroad,” noted Foweraker.

“Not knowing exactly what travel will be like in the fall, we would prefer to stage the 41st Royal Victoria Marathon in 2022, when we can truly celebrate a return to running.”

Registration opens on Tuesday at runvictoriamarathon.com

(06/03/2021) Views: 1,083 ⚡AMP
by Cleve Dheensaw
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Royal Victoria Marathon

Royal Victoria Marathon

We are one of Canada's premier running event, offering athletes an unmatchable running experience on the pristine West Coast. Our world-class, record-breaking course is designed by runners, for runners. As the only Certified Boston Qualifier on Vancouver Island, come join us to compete, to conquer and to move from warm-up to reward. ...

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Victoria Marathon Flush Virtual Series will be run in addition to the in-person race, assuming it can go ahead as scheduled in October

Organizers of the Royal Victoria Marathon have announced the launch of several new virtual events. The lineup of races, dubbed the Royal Flush Virtual Race Series, will feature five distances that can be run from May to September.

The in-person Royal Victoria Marathon is still scheduled for October 10, although organizers cannot guarantee it will go ahead as planned. 

The Royal Flush includes a mile run, a 5K, a 10K, a half and a full marathon. Participants can choose to run just one of the events, two (a pair) or all five (which would be the official Royal Flush). If an individual signs up for multiple runs, they can complete them whenever they please, whether that’s all in the same week or months apart.  

"I wish we could guarantee that we were going to be at the same start line on October 10,” says Royal Victoria Marathon race director Cathy Noel. “However, we are going to be able to keep everyone moving and motivated for five months as they participate in five different event distances and collect great swag.”

The contents of each participant’s swag bag is dependent on which races they choose to run, but race shirts, medals, bags, buffs and more will be sent to runners across the country after registering for the event. Everyone in the Royal Flush will also receive a special medal for running all five races. 

Registration for the Royal Flush Virtual Race Series is open from now until the end of May. 

(02/25/2021) Views: 1,182 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Royal Victoria Marathon

Royal Victoria Marathon

We are one of Canada's premier running event, offering athletes an unmatchable running experience on the pristine West Coast. Our world-class, record-breaking course is designed by runners, for runners. As the only Certified Boston Qualifier on Vancouver Island, come join us to compete, to conquer and to move from warm-up to reward. ...

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The Royal Victoria Marathon name is back

The original Royal Victoria ­Marathon logo featured a crowned king running in robes. If it were to be revived, it might fittingly feature a picture of Michael J. Fox superimposed because the event is going back to the future.

It will again be titled the Royal Victoria Marathon, its name of 31 years, before it became the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon in 2011. ­Losing its title sponsor does not threaten the event, say ­organizers.

“We have stability and are well managed,” said race ­director and general manager Cathy Noel. “Participants won’t notice an impact.”

The split was amicable.

“It has been an honour to be title sponsor of the Victoria Marathon for the last decade,” said David Patchell-Evans, GoodLife Fitness founder and CEO, in a statement.

“While GoodLife will not retain title sponsorship this year, our affinity and belief in this event, the organizers, runners and the community of volunteers who make it possible, is unwavering. The Royal Victoria Marathon will always hold a special place for myself and the entire GoodLife family and we look forward to being part of the event in the future.”

Noel added: “We are extremely grateful for [GoodLife Fitness’] support over the years.”

The biggest question facing the Victoria Marathon Society, following the 2020 cancellation due to the pandemic, is not whether the race will go ahead in 2021 but in what manner on Oct. 10. With all Canadians who want a vaccination likely to have one by the fall, live sports is projected to return by late summer and fall.

“[But] it’s not like flipping a switch,” said Noel.

These events take months of planning and a decision will be made in the “early spring” whether to go live or virtual, or some combination thereof, for the 41st Royal Victoria Marathon.

“The question will come down to what can we do at that point of the year?” said Noel.

“The question will come down to what can we do at that point of the year?” said Noel.

Nine months out, that question simply can’t be answered at this time. It’s part of the over-arching split sport faces this year due to the vaccine rollout timeline. Winter and spring events and leagues are in trouble but summer and fall events and leagues stand a far better chance of taking place. Case-in-point is the other big Victoria annual running festival that bookends the season — the Times Colonist 10K — which will have to go virtual this year because it is a spring event in April.

“What we do know is that people want to get out there and be active,” said Noel. “And we will keep them motivated throughout the year.”

Noel said a monthly Zoom speakers’ series will begin Jan. 25 featuring prominent individuals in the running world.

It is a victory, say organizers, that a race can be contemplated at all in 2021.

(01/19/2021) Views: 1,187 ⚡AMP
by Cleve Dheensaw
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Royal Victoria Marathon

Royal Victoria Marathon

We are one of Canada's premier running event, offering athletes an unmatchable running experience on the pristine West Coast. Our world-class, record-breaking course is designed by runners, for runners. As the only Certified Boston Qualifier on Vancouver Island, come join us to compete, to conquer and to move from warm-up to reward. ...

more...
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Natasha Wodak broke the course record for Women at 39th annual GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon

With nearly 8,000 athletes participating, the 39th annual GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon was another huge success in the capital city. The wet weather was more of a help for the runners than a disadvantage, cooling off the athletes as they tested their endurance in three different races. In the half marathon, Victoria’s Natasha Wodak broke the course record for females, finishing with a time of 1:11:45, breaking a record she set herself back in 2012. In the full marathon, all eyes were on Kenya’s Daniel Kipkoech, who has won the last four years in a row. The 31 year old, who now calls Lethbridge home, took home another victory on Sunday, his fifth consecutive win, tying the Victoria Marathon record for most wins and most consecutive wins. Kipkoech finished with a time of 2:22:39. (10/08/2018) Views: 1,810 ⚡AMP
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