Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Drugs and Running

The latest drug bust in big time marathoning has got me thinking about drugs in ultramarathon running. As much as I want to believe our sport is totally clean, I think the time has come for us to prove it.  There are simply too many examples of Performance Enhancing Drugs being used in running and by amateurs in other sports to ignore.  I do not, in any way, have evidence to suggest there is doping in ultrarunning but as a long time participant and fan of the sport I think it's time we figure out a way to institute testing in our sport not as a means to catch the bad guys but rather to prove we're clean.  I hate to say it but the rumblings about drug use in trail running continue to get louder.

Now, of course, the problem is the cost of a testing program.  I am pretty sure that the large events like Western States and UTMB cannot afford to implement a full-scale testing program and the racer confederations (SkyRunning and UTWT, for example) may not have the resources for a testing program either.  Therefore, I suggest we turn to the sponsors and companies that are currently investing in ultra trail running.  Could some of the larger shoe companies work together to create a testing program?  Could they partner with Garmin, Strava, figure out a way to bring the drug issue to the forefront? The whispering about drugs has been around for a while now and I think such a program could go a long way toward either quieting to critics or exposing the cheats.

From my perspective the time for change is now.  What do you think?