Island runner Levins leaves world track and field championships empty-handed

It was a memorable summer personally for Cam Levins, who got married on Canada Day in Victoria at St. Ann’s Academy.

But it was highly forgettable on the track.

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The runner from Black Creek, who will be among the big Canadian and Island hopes at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, has dropped out of today’s 5,000 metres at the 2013 IAAF world track and field championships in Moscow after his disappointing 14th-place finish in the 10,000 metres Saturday.

“It was a big transition year for me and a lot of things changed,” said Levins by phone from Moscow. “I got married and also had breathing and health issues that affected me. The training was not there.”

Little known coming out of G.P. Vanier Secondary in Courtenay, Levins only got a U.S. NCAA offer after scouring the Internet. He seemed to come out of nowhere last year with Southern Utah to sweep the 2012 NCAA titles in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres before making the finals in both those events at the London Olympics.

“I didn’t feel overbearing pressure to have another campaign this year like I did last year,” said Levins. “I just want to continue to move in the right direction. But sometimes you have off years.”

Now training under the former great runner Alberto Salazar, he doesn’t plan on having any more of those.

“The Commonwealth Games next year [in Glasgow] are going to be very competitive and another test to see where I’m at. Ideally, this all works up to where I’m in a position to be a medallist in Rio [2016 Summer Olympics].”

Meanwhile, fellow Islander and Olympic finalist Mike Mason of Nanoose Bay begins competition in the high jump qualifying rounds today with the final scheduled for Thursday. Only a quivering bar, that eventually dropped, denied the graduate of Parksville’s Bellenas Secondary a bronze medal last year at the London Olympics.

Reaching the podium Sunday in Moscow with Canada’s first medal, a bronze, was Damian Warner of London, Ont., in the decathlon.

Sportsnet is broadcasting a highlights package daily from the 2013 worlds, with today’s airing at 8 p.m.

WORLD BEAT: Battling not only the course but also a bad cold, Olympian Max Plaxton of Victoria was top Canadian in ninth place over the weekend at the UCI mountain bike World Cup in Mont-Sainte-Anne, while two-time Olympian Geoff Kabush of Courtenay placed 15th.

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