Elmore, Levins 1st Canadians Nominated For Early Selection To Olympic Marathon Team | CBC Sports

Malindi Elmore and Cam Levins are heading to Paris this summer, with Athletics Canada announcing Wednesday the two marathon runners earned early nominations to represent Canada at the Olympics.

Each runner will be competing at their 3rd Games this summer in ParisThe Canadian Press

· Posted: Feb 07, 2024 3:24 PM EST | Last Updated: 1 hour ago

Malindi Elmore and Cam Levins, who have earned early nominations to represent Canada at the Paris Olympics this summer, are the only Canadian marathoners to have achieved the women’s and men’s qualifying standards. (CBC Sports composite: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images; Christinne Muschi/Canadian Press/File)Malindi Elmore and Cam Levins are heading to Paris this summer.

Athletics Canada announced the two marathon runners earned early nominations to represent Canada at the Olympics. It will be the third Olympic appearance for both athletes.

Elmore, of Kelowna, B.C., made her Olympic debut at the 2004 Athens Games in the 1,500 metres and retired in 2012 before returning to competition in 2019 to compete in the marathon.

The 43-year-old achieved the Olympic qualifying standard with a personal-best time of two hours 23 minutes 30 seconds at the Berlin Marathon last September. Elmore finished ninth at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

“I never expected, even as recently as five years ago, that I’d make two more Olympics. My life had moved on, I had moved on from running, as well,” Elmore said in statement released by Athletics Canada. “To become a three-time Olympian sounds kind of legit now.”

After graduating from Stanford University in California, she made her Olympic debut and was 37th in the 1,500 in Greece.

Following retirement, Elmore reinvented herself as a marathon runner. In January 2020, she set the Canadian record in her second race, clocking 2:24:50 in Houston to clinch her spot on the Olympic team for Tokyo.

It was 42 C on Aug. 6, 2021 for the Olympic marathon held outside Tokyo in Sapporo, where Elmore covered the 42.2-kilometre race in 2:30:59 for ninth, the best finish by a Canadian woman in a non-boycott Games.

‘Grateful’In 2022, Natasha Wodak lowered Elmore’s Canadian record, stopping the clock in 2:23:12 in the Berlin Marathon, five weeks before the Olympic qualifying window opened for Paris.

“I’ve learned so much over the last 20 years about training and racing and the work that goes into it,” Elmore said, “that I feel really quite grateful that I’ve had this opportunity to become the athlete that I hoped I could have been and wanted to be. A lot of people don’t get that opportunity.”

The men’s marathon will run through the streets of Paris on Aug. 10, with the women’s event held just hours before the closing ceremony the following day.

Levins made his Olympic debut at the 2012 London Games in the 5,000 and 10,000 events.

The Black Creek, B.C., native made his marathon debut in 2018 when he broke Jerome Drayton’s 43-year-old national record, crossing the finish line in 2:09:25 at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

The 34-year-old’s personal best of 2:05:36 at the Tokyo Marathon last March helped him achieve the qualifying standard and set an Americas record. Levins finished fourth at the 2022 world championships in the event.

“Anytime I get to put on a Canadian singlet and compete at the Olympics or the world championships is always really exciting. I live for being able to compete on these big stages and face the very best in the world, and the Olympics is the peak of that,” Levins said.

“This one is really special for me, after getting all the experience of these previous Olympics. My wife [Elizabeth] hasn’t seen me compete live in any of my Olympics yet, and that’s pretty special for her to be able to do that in Paris.”

Levins last raced on Nov. 5 when he left the course in Brooklyn before the halfway mark of his first New York City Marathon and said later he felt unwell since the start.

Levins also wasn’t comfortable early in the 2021 Olympic marathon and struggled to accelerate out of drinking stations on the way to finishing 71st in a field of 106. He and coach Jim Finlayson previously determined Levins had a nutrition problem and was underfuelling before races.

He chose to race the hilly New York course in preparation for Paris, where the near-loop course will vary in elevation from a low point of 27 metres and high point of 183, gaining 438m in elevation and descending 436m to the finish.

The Olympic athletics events will take place between Friday, August 2 and Sunday, August 11, 2024.

The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic trials, scheduled for June 26-30 in Montreal, serve as the primary team selection competition for track and field events.

With files from CBC Sports

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