This article was originally published on The Toronto Star's website.
His near-record mile alone would have made for a notable night, but Cam Levins wanted to go one better.
The distance runner from Black Creek, B.C., won the mile at the Armory Track Invitational on Saturday night, posting a world-leading time for this season that was just shy of the Canadian indoor record.
Less than 30 minutes later, he won the two-mile race, overtaking Olympic silver medallist Galen Rupp of the U.S. on the final lap.
“I feel the strongest and fittest I ever have,” Levins told reporters after his second race. “I felt fresh and good, I knew I was fit, but I don’t know if I was expecting to come back and run a good two-mile after my mile, that’s for sure.
“I’m really pleased with it. And it proved that I’m fit.”
The 25-year-old, who won bronze in a thrilling 10,000-metre race at last summer’s Commonwealth Games, ran three minutes 54.74 seconds in the mile, missing Nate Brannen’s Canadian record by about four-tenths of a second.
He then found a spot along the way to sit and rest briefly before getting up to prepare for the two-mile.
Levins trailed Rupp, his training partner with the Oregon Project in Portland, on the last lap before surging past him to finish in 8:15.38.
“When I got to there, I’m like ‘Oh, man, Galen’s not pulling away from me, maybe I got a shot at it,’ ” Levins said. “I thought he was just going to start hammering that last lap, frankly. And when he didn’t, I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m still here, maybe I can make a move on him.’ And then he didn’t really respond.”
Levins is no stranger to tough doubles. The former Southern Utah star won both the 5,000 and 10,000 metres in his final NCAA season, earning the Bowerman award as the U.S. college’s top track athlete. He also ran both events at the 2012 London Olympics.
He’ll run the 5,000 at the prestigious Millrose Games in New York on Feb. 14.
Shawnacy Barber, a Canadian competing for the University of Akron, won the pole vault at the Armory Invitational.
Akeem Haynes of Calgary ran a blistering 6.51 in an indoor 60-metre race Saturday in Arizona. It’s the fastest time by a Canadian since 1997, when Donovan Bailey and Bruny Surin both ran that time.