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Le tour! Photo credit: Jeremy (www.flickr.com)

Lance Armstrong: Doping in running debate

21-Dec-15

Last updated: 02-Jun-17

By Alice Morrison

If no publicity is bad publicity, then the organisers of the Woodside Ramble, a 35K trail race in California, must be rubbing their hands in glee. The race only had 50 entrants but one of them was Lance Armstrong and he won it in 3:00:36.

The controversy has continued to grow as runners debate whether the 7-times winner of the Tour De France, later stripped of his titles for doping and given a lifelong ban by the World Anti Doping Agency, should have been allowed to complete. The ban covers cycling and, due to a mutual recognition principle, as Runner's World reported, races sanctioned by USA Triathlon and USA Track & Field. Any big race permitting Armstrong to compete could lose its accreditation from the relevant governing body. But a smaller race like the Woodside Ramble hasn’t signed up to the World Anti-Doping Agency code and is not under its jurisdiction.

Whether Lance Armstrong should have run or not, the debate has been widened to look at the issues of doping in ultra running.

Ian Sharman, the Director of the US Sky Running Series has been vocal in his call for vigilance against doping in the sport. “We want doping out of our sport. It's not about any individual but the entire population, “ he says on Twitter and he has written at length on his views here.

With the growth of the sport and its increasing professionalization and commercialisation, it is unlikely that the issues of doping will disappear.

 

Photo credit: Le tour! by Jeremy

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