Top Trail Runners Speak Out About PEDs
Joe Gray, Sage Canaday and others support more aggressive drug-testing programs for trail races
Image by BigStockPhoto
The day before the 2012 World Mountain Running Championships, Joe Gray, elite Club Northwest road, cross-country and mountain runner, was exhausted. He went for a run and then lay down in bed to get some sleep before the big race. There was a knock. Fellow runner Rich Bolt stood at the door and let Gray know he’d been selected for a random drug test.
In 2010, Ellie Greenwood had just finished first in the International Association of Ultrarunners World 100K Championships in Gibraltar. At the finish line, authorities whisked her away, back to the cruise ship she’d arrived on. While they searched for the right cabin, Greenwood hobbled along behind them, clinging to the banisters to hoist her aching body up a few flights of stairs. Finally they stopped at the right room. There, under same-sex supervision, she’d have to pee in a cup.
Since then, Greenwood has had to register her location quarterly online as per the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency so they can show up at her house at 6:30 a.m. to make sure she isn’t doping.
Sage Canaday, elite trail runner and two-time Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, has never had this experience, but as an athlete who’s been accused of doping, he says he’d be honored to pee in a cup to prove his innocence.
Sports news is inundated with stories of athletes using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Cyclist Lance Armstrong used them. Baseball player Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez used them. Track and field sprinter Tyson Gay used them. But, for the most part, the trail-running community hasn’t been under the laser-beam of PED scrutiny—but, this may be changing.