Cam Levins reached the goal he set for himself when he qualified for two events at the Summer Games in London. Now the question is whether or not he can accomplish something he hasn't even dared to dream about yet.
"My goal was to be in the (5,000-meter) final," said the Southern Utah University standout who runs for Team Canada. "I never counted on the 10,000 meters, or doing something huge in the 5K finals. But you know, I'm there, and I'm learning that anything is possible."
Levins qualified for Saturday's 5,000-meter final with a time of 13:18.29.
"After the first heat," he said, "I knew what I had to do in order to make it in. I was definitely more confident today than I was in the 10K. Then, I was concerned about trying to stay with the front pack."
He admitted that running near the back of the leader's pack gave him confidence.
"I felt a lot more confident during that last lap," he said. After the 10,000-meter race last week, he said he was proud of himself just for staying with the leaders until that final lap.
He said it helped him realize that he's not as far removed from competing with the world's top athletes as he once thought.
"It was pretty cool to be up near the front, cool to get that experience of mixing it up with the big guns," he said with a little laugh. "That never happened in the 10K; I was near the back. … This is a lot of fun."
He said the races may be different distances, but the strategy is very much the same. Run with the fastest pack until the final lap, and then find something more.
"When I hit that last lap, I just told myself, 'It doesn't matter how you feel, just go, just kick.' I am glad I stayed with them, glad I made it to the finals."
On Saturday, he'll square off against some of the best distance runners in history — including American Bernard Lagat.
"I actually got to race him today," he said. "That's been a big dream of mine, so that was cool."
The man who brought the T-Birds their first two national championships earlier this year admits he's starting to believe his childhood dream of running like the men he saw on his television set is beginning to feel more like a reality than fantasy.
"The world isn't unbeatable," he said. "I've trained as hard as some of these athletes and I can compete with them."
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company