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Cam Levins obliterates Canadian men’s record in marathon debut

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In his marathon debut, Cam Levins of Black Creek, B.C., shattered Jerome Drayton’s 43-year-old Canadian men’s record on a brisk Sunday morning in Toronto.

Levins, who wanted to debut in the 42.2-kilometre race on home soil and specifically the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, crossed the finish line fourth in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds, or 44 seconds ahead of Drayton’s longstanding mark.

« I was feeling good throughout most of the race and I made it through the last 10K. I thought, ‘I’m taking back my career and I did that,' » an exhausted and relieved Levins, who is taking a cruise with his wife, Elizabeth, on Monday, told Athletics Canada. 

« I’m headed to the Bahamas to get some warm weather and then I’m sure I’ll do another marathon after this. »

‘I want to go to the Olympics again’

Levins earned a bonus of $43,000 for his performance — $1,000 for each year Drayton’s record stood.

Looking strong and relaxed, Levins took one final look at this watch and smiled before crossing the finish line where race director Alan Brookes greeted the 29-year-old and draped a Canadian flag over his shoulders.

Before the race, Levins said it was the right time to attempt a marathon and « in a lot of ways » believed he was more fit than at any point in his career. He even grew to like the longer, more tempo-based workouts of a marathon build compared to speed work on the track.

« There’s something exciting, liberating and enjoyable about taking on an entirely new event in the sport at an elite level, » said Levins, who spent the final month of his training running at altitude.

Could he represent Canada in the Olympic marathon four years from now in Tokyo?

« It’s so hard to know, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s what my focus is come 2020, » Levins, who lives in Portland, Ore., told CBC Sports recently. « I would like to keep building and hopefully be the best athlete I can be in this four-year [Olympic] cycle.

« I want to go to the Olympics again but two years is a long ways away. As I’ve learned before, anything can happen. »

Coming off a gold-medal sweep of the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the NCAA championships in 2012, Levins competed at his first Summer Games that year in London, England, finishing 11th in the 10,000 and 14th in the 5,000.

Tendon tear in left foot

He also captured bronze in the 10,000 at the 2014 Commonwealth Games before his career was disrupted the following season at the Canadian track and field championships in Edmonton.

Following a 1,500 heat, someone ran into the back of him, catching Levins’ leg and forcing him to the ground.

Levins was later diagnosed with a tear of the peroneal tendon in his left foot, stress fractures in his navicular and talus bones, a bone spur and bone chips that doctors had to shave and remove.

After having « very serious doubts » about resuming his competitive career, Levins returned a year later in some 5 km and 10 km races before trying his first-ever half marathon last December, crossing the line in 1:05:07 at the Holiday Half Marathon in Oregon.

He clocked 1:05:00 on Jan. 14 in Houston after signing a sponsorship deal with athletic shoe company Hoka One One and two months later, Levins placed 30th at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in a personal-best 1:02:15, less than a minute shy of Jeff Schiebler’s Canadian mark of 1:01:28 in 1999.

Ethiopia’s Belete sets women’s record

Meanwhile, Benson Kipruto ended fellow Kenyan Philemon Rono’s two-year title reign with a winning time of 2:07:24. Rono, who set a personal best and course record last year of 2:06:52, was ninth on Sunday in 2:13:37.

Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda, the first Olympic champion to race the Toronto event, finished seventh in 2:11:06 while Hamilton’s Reid Coolsaet, who was making his third appearance in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, placed 10th (2:17:36) after aiming for a 2:13-2:14 finish. In 2011, the 39-year-old two-time Olympian clocked 2:10:55 in Toronto.

Mimi Belete, who competes internationally for Bahrain, set a course record for the women with a 2:22:29 PB, defeating last year’s champion and fellow Ethiopian Marta Megra (2:22:35).

Middleton top Canadian woman

Top Canadian was Kinsey Middleton, who stopped the clock in 2:32:09 in her Toronto Waterfront debut. The 25-year-old American-Canadian dual citizen ran a season-best 1:12:30 in the half marathon at Houston in January.

Leslie Sexton, last year’s top Canadian, was ninth in 2:36:03 while 2016 Olympian Krista DuChene came 10th in 2:36:46 after placing third (2:44:20) among women at the Boston Marathon earlier this year.

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Anglais

Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme

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Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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