The North Face Endurance Challenge Series of trail running and ultra-races is setting a new precedent for clean sport, Runner’s World reported.
The ECS enacted a new set of rules, dubbed the Clean Sport Policy that prohibits any athlete who is serving a doping suspension from competing at one of their events. Additionally, and here’s the kicker, any athletes who are done serving their suspension are eligible to compete but will be forever unable to accept prize money, awards or recognition for their performances.
Clean sport advocate and Olympian Alysia Montano praised this new rule and has long been vocal for a change in anti-doping policies.
While positive, the move could have questionable results. Trail and ultra-runners aren’t subjected to random drug tests and rarely have in-competition drug testing at events. However, it’s more than the sport of track and field can say. Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay are just two members of the U.S. track and field team that have continued to compete, and earn money, since testing positive and serving time for doping. While the entire country of Russia was barred from competing in Rio for systematic doping, who’s to say they will be banned again next summer when the world championships come to London?
Track and field has the resources to enforce drug testing at major competitions and at random. Maybe they could learn a thing or two about evening the playing field from trail running.