iRunFar Policy on Doping and Athlete Coverage

By on December 3, 2015

Since the issue first arose, iRunFar has had the policy to provide only a basic level of coverage of any athlete who has received a negative judgement from an internationally recognized anti-doping agency in connection with using a performance-enhancing substance in sport. That policy continues to be in effect in an expanded form, denying such athletes written or recorded interviews, as well as minimizing race coverage-related exposure while mentioning their previous negative judgements.

Specifically, this means that such athletes will be mentioned in articles previewing and conveying the results of an event in which they compete. In these articles, an athlete’s previous or current negative judgements will be noted. These athletes will be reported as other athletes during our live coverage of events. Going forward, we will announce their negative judgements should we share their finishing position. To entirely exclude such athletes from our written pre- and post-race summary articles or our live coverage would unnecessarily confuse people. However, we will not provide any additional coverage of such athletes, such as in video or written interviews.

Why do currently we adhere to a “one strike and you’re out” policy? First, because science shows that numerous performing-enhancing substances benefit their users beyond the length of negative judgements currently issued by administrative organizations. Second, we feel that such an extreme form of cheating is an absolute departure from the spirit of our sport and the intent of our sport’s competitions. iRunFar believes that convicted dopers should not be allowed to return to sporting competitions.

Beyond our own race coverage, we strongly encourage all races to refuse entry to anyone who has received a negative judgement from a sanctioned anti-doping agency and highly competitive events to implement testing for performance-enhancing drugs where it does not already exist. In addition, we strongly encourage that, going forward, the organizations that sanction races issue lifetime bans to anyone whose positive test(s) survive administrative appeal. (Due to the severity of the requested punishment, it is paramount that a suspected doper be given a thorough chance to clear his or her name.)

In covering the front of competitive races for all of these years, our goal has been to tell the story of the men and women who run fast, smart—and legal—races. We believe in and will continue to tell those stories.

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.