With recent high profile positive tests coming from UTMB and the Trail World Championships, there has been a lot of talk in the trail and ultra running communities for the need for greater drug testing within the elite field. For those who have competed and achieved success at the World 100km Championships (as an example), athletes find themselves on the World Anti Doping Agency/WADA’s in and out of competition testing list. However, win the vast majority of races and procedures aren’t in place.
The Western States Endurance Run, the original 100 mile race has announced a drug testing programme starting this year. The hope is others will follow and though positive testing remains rare, being able to deter athletes from PEDs sends out a strong message and helps protect the reputation and image of the sport.
The below is taken from Western States official release;
“The Western States Endurance Run has released a “Drug Testing Policy and Protocols” document to all runners entered in this year’s event, with the purpose of conducting drug testing for the first time in the Run’s 44-year history on June 24-25, WSER President John Medinger announced today.
“Drug testing at this year’s Western States is an important and necessary step in deterring use of performance-enhancing drugs in our sport,” Medinger said on behalf of the Run’s Board of Trustees, who earlier this year voted unanimously to implement drug testing in 2017. “We are hoping that by taking a leadership role regarding this important issue, other races throughout the world will also make a strong commitment and take a strong stance toward fostering a drug-free future for our sport.”
The policy and protocols document states that WSER has a zero-tolerance policy regarding the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). The purpose of drug-testing controls is to:
- Deter the use of performance-enhancing drugs in competition;
- Identify any participant who may be using performance-enhancing drugs;
- Educate all participants about the health risks and unfair advantages created through the use of performance-enhancing drugs;
- Promote a drug-free sport.
Post-competition drug testing at this year’s Run will be conducted by an independent third party drug testing administrator commissioned by WSER. The independent third party administrator will ensure that all drug collection and testing is done in accordance with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules and regulations. Urine samples will be collected under direct observations of the independent administrator and tested for WADA’s listed of banned substances in accordance with WADA’s International Standards for Testing and Investigations (ISTI).
All individuals who are on the final start list for Western States could be subject to drug testing at this year’s Run. The Board of Trustees, in its sole discretion, will determine which runners will be tested. While WSER reserves the right to select any runner for testing, the goal will be to test from the elite men’s and women’s finisher’s field, including top age-group competitors. Examples of possible selections include top 10 men and women finishers; age-group winners; or 10 randomly selected (but pre-determined) finishers from the top 20 men and women.
Drug testing will be conducted immediately following competition in a secure area near the finish line at Placer High School in Auburn, Calif. Runners selected will be notified by a WSER official when they finish the race. During the sample-taking process, the selected runners will be under the supervision of the independent drug-testing administrator. Waiver and liability forms as well as a past medical history inventory that will include a listing of any drugs that are used for legitimate medical purposes, will be filled out by the selected runners.
The Drug Testing Policy and Protocols document also includes steps and information regarding an appeals process, definition of legitimate medical use, and policy regarding public release of drug test results. Violations of the anti-doping policies of the Run will be determined by the Board of Trustees and will result in a lifetime ban from the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. The person’s name and finishing time will be removed from all official results of that year’s Run, and any awards presented by the Run’s organizers, including finisher’s belt buckle, shall be returned.
To read the Drug Testing Policy and Protocols document, go to: wser.org/drug-testing-policy-and-protocols“