This Week In Running: August 12, 2019

This Week in Running Justin Mock TWIRThe Golden Trail Series and the World Mountain Running Association joined together for the 46th Sierre-Zinal 31k race in Switzerland, and it was incredibly competitive, a real record breaker, and perhaps the deepest trail race of the year. We go big on that coverage, and bring you other U.S. and Canada highlights too. Monday, time to shine!

Sierre-Zinal – Zinal, Switzerland


Surprise, surprise. Two-time defending champion Lucy Wambui Murigi (Kenya) dropped just over an hour into the race with injury, and Anna Pichrtová‘s 2008 course record was crushed. The crusher, Maude Mathys (Switzerland).

Mathys won in 2:49, and that was five minutes better than her closest chaser, and also five minutes better than Pichrtová’s previous record. In 2015, Mathys received a warning without suspension from the Disciplinary Chamber for Doping Cases of Swiss Olympic for two positive tests for clomifene (previously clomiphene) after it was determined that she was mistakenly taking the drug without first obtaining a World Anti-Doping Agency Therapeutic Use Exemption.

Second-place Judith Wyder (Switzerland), a relative newcomer to trail races, having previously competed in orienteering and ski orienteering, also dipped under Pichrtová’s former course best. Wyder ran 2:54.

Silvia Rampazzo (Italy) was third in 2:56.

The rest of the top 10 included:

4 – Ruth Croft (New Zealand) – 3:01
5 – Anaïs Sabrié (France) – 3:01
6 – Simone Troxler (Switzerland) – 3:03
7 – Elisa Desco (Italy) – 3:08. From 2010 to 2012, Desco served a two-year ban from the IAAF after she tested positive for EPO at the 2009 World Mountain Running Championships.
8 – Holly Page (U.K.) – 3:08
9 – Oihana Kortazar (Spain) – 3:09
10 – Gisela Carrion (Spain) – 3:10

Croft currently leads the Golden Trail Series rankings.

Other notable results in the deep field included:

11 – Charlotte Morgan (U.K.) – 3:11
13 – Sarah McCormack (Ireland) – 3:12
14 – Azara Garcia (Spain) – 3:13
16 – Amandine Ferrato (France) – 3:16
17 – Eli Gordon (Spain) – 3:19
18 – Mercedes Pila (Ecuador) – 3:19
19 – Maya Chollet (Switzerland) – 3:19
21 – Camille Bruyas (France, lives on La Réunion) – 3:23
28 – Gloria Giudici (Italy) – 3:33
33 – Paulina Wywloka (Poland) – 3:37
36 – Aline Camboulives (France) – 3:39
39 – Luzia Buehler (Switzerland) – 3:43
53 – YiOu Wang (USA) – 3:56
56 – Jessica Brazeau (USA) – 4:00
69 – Emily Clark (USA) – 4:15

McCormack is the current WMRA World Cup leader.


Kilian Jornet (Spain) is the best ever, at least at Sierre-Zinal. Jornet won for a record seventh time in a new 2:25 course-record time. That mark crushed Jonathan Wyatt‘s longstanding 2:29 former best that dated to 2003. Jornet did it, mostly, not on the downhill, but rather on a fast-from-the-start race to the course high point.

Kilian Jornet, 2019 Sierre-Zinal champion. Photo: World Mountain Running Association/Marco Gulberti

2016 winner Petro Mamu (Eritrea) returned and, perhaps surprisingly, gained on Jornet downhill for a second-place 2:26, 56 seconds behind Jornet. That Mamu also beat the former course best by such a wide margin is perhaps the only–well, not the only–part of the day that took away from Jornet’s accomplishment. In 2017, Mamu failed two doping tests, testing positive after both the World Mountain Running Championships and the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships that year for fenoterol. He was given a nine-month ban starting in September of 2017 by the IAAF, what was reportedly a reduction from two years for cooperation with the IAAF.

Making his debut at the race, Jim Walmsley (USA) was a strong third in 2:31. That time would’ve won every recent race here back through 2013.

The rest of the top 10 included:

4 – Juan Carlos Carera (Mexico) – 2:32
5 – Robbie Simpson (U.K.) – 2:33
6 – Andrew Douglas (U.K.) – 2:34
7 – Joey Hadorn (Switzerland) – 2:36
8 – Rémi Bonnet (Switzerland) – 2:36
9 – Teboho Noosi (Lesotho) – 2:37
10 – Davide Magnini (Italy) – 2:37

This group included 2018 runner-up Simpson, current WMRA World Cup leader Douglas, and Magnini, winner of the last two Golden Trail Series races and who remains in the series lead.

Other notable finishers included:

11 – Sage Canaday (USA) – 2:38
13 – Stephan Wenk (Switzerland) – 2:38
14 – Thibaut Baronian (France) – 2:38
16 – Francesco Puppi (Italy) – 2:39
17 – Max King (USA) – 2:40
18 – Petter Engdahl (Sweden) – 2:40
21 – Henri Ansio (Finland) – 2:41
22 – Robert Panin Surum (Kenya) – 2:41
27 – Aritz Egea (Spain) – 2:43
28 – Christian Gering (USA) – 2:43
29 – Julien Rancon (France) – 2:43
30 – Marc Lauenstein (Switzerland) – 2:43
37 – Stian Aarvik (Norway) – 2:46
38 – Alexis Sévennec (France) – 2:46
41 – Nicolas Martin (France) – 2:46
42 – Martin Dematteis (Italy) – 2:47
43 – Pablo Villalobos (Spain) – 2:47
45 – Eric Blake (USA) – 2:47
49 – Filimon Abraham (Eritrea) – 2:48
54 – Bernard Dematteis (Italy) – 2:51
55 – Andy Wacker (USA) – 2:51
61 – Galen Burrell (USA) – 2:53
78 – Jackson Brill (USA) – 2:58
85 – Matt Daniels (USA) – 3:01

Wow, what an incredibly deep race!

Full results.

The next Golden Trail Series race is the Pikes Peak Marathon in Colorado on August 25th and the next WMRA World Cup contest is the DREI-Zinnenlauf 17.5k in Italy on August 24. Jornet will be at the Pikes Peak Marathon, and I wonder how much his new interest in records brings him closer to Matt Carpenter’s Pikes Peak Marathon course record? An unpressed Jornet ran 3:40 in 2012 on that course and Carpenter’s record stands at 3:16 from 1993.

Other Races and Runs

Cirque Series

The latest Cirque Series race happened at Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin ski resort on a 6.8-mile course that gained 1,890 feet. The women’s race was super close with just 26 seconds separating the lead three. Anna Mae Flynn gained some daylight for the win in 1:01. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier Deanna Ardrey was runner-up and 10 seconds back, and Ashley Brasovan was third, also in 1:02, but 16 seconds behind Ardrey. Brasovan had been listed among the Sierre-Zinal invited runners. As close as those first three were, places four through six were all separated by just 18 seconds. Joe Gray won for the men, and it was his third win in as many Cirque Series starts this year. Gray finished in 50:58. Joseph DeMoor was second in 51:39 and Daniel Kraft–a name we haven’t seen in recent years–was third in 53:26. Full results.

Anna Mae Flynn on her way to winning the 2019 Cirque Series Arapahoe Basin. Photo: Cirque Series/Josh Eades

Aspen Backcountry Marathon

Kelsey Persyn won Colorado’s Aspen Backcountry Marathon in 4:17, and men’s winner Noah Hoffman clocked 3:30, unseating defending champ Josh Eberly by eight minutes. Hoffman is a former Nordic ski Olympian, times two. Brittany Charboneau, herself an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, beat out Yngvild Kaspersen (Norway) in the half marathon, 2:02 to 2:11. Men’s half winner James Gregory came through in 1:57. Full results.

Fat Dog 120 Mile

British Columbia’s Fat Dog 120 Mile ran on an alternate course this year due to wildfire damage on a part of its normal course. The alternate clocked in at about 122 miles with 26,800 feet of climb. Cate Airoldi (Norway) won the women’s race in 35:22 and Avery Collins led the men’s group in 25:59. Full results.

Ute 100 Mile

Both Melissa Ostaszewski and Trevor Fuchs set new course records at the second-ever Ute 100 Mile race in Utah. The two frontrunners clocked 28:57 and 20:59 finishes. Karl Meltzer was third in 24:12. Full results.

Bigfoot 200 Mile

In Washington’s Bigfoot 200 MileMichael McKnight won the men’s race while Sofi Cantilo won the women’s. Live tracking.

Post Canyon 50k

Maddison McEvilly and Masazumi Fujioka won Hood River, Oregon’s Post Canyon 50k in 5:49 and 4:38. Full results.

Haulin’ Aspen Trail Marathon

Sumner and Daniel Button won the Haulin’ Aspen Trail Marathon near Bend, Oregon in 3:30 and 3:08. Sumner was also second overall. Full results.

Eastern States 100 Mile

In Pennsylvania, Megan Burke ran 25:59 to win the Eastern States 100 Mile and to finish 10th overall. Men’s winner Wesley Atkinson finished in 18:23 and bettered the previous course record by over two hours. Full results.

Resurrection Pass 100 Mile

Alaska’s Resurrection Pass 100 Mile suffered the same fate as other races in the area this summer. It was canceled due to wildfire.

Call for Comments

What races do you want to tell us about from your weekend?

Justin Mock

is a family man, finance man, and former competitive runner. He gave his 20s to running, and ran as fast as 2:29 for the marathon and finished as high as fourth at the Pikes Peak Marathon. His running is now most happy with his two dogs on the trails and peaks near his home west of Denver.

There are 79 comments

  1. Ben Piper

    Wow so many dopers getting on the podium at Sierre-Zinal. What an embarrassingg state the sport is getting to, especially in Europe.

      1. Will

        Mathys won in 2:49, and that was five minutes better than her closest chaser, and also five minutes better than Pichrtová’s previous record. In 2015, Mathys received a warning without suspension from the Disciplinary Chamber for Doping Cases of Swiss Olympic for two positive tests for clomifene (previously clomiphene) after it was determined that she was mistakenly taking the drug without first obtaining a World Anti-Doping Agency Therapeutic Use Exemption.

        1. Evie

          I suspect Mathys would regard public skepticism a small price to pay for a successful pregnancy and happy family alongside her outstanding sports career.

      2. Sage Canday

        I believe Desco was also in the women’s top 10 again (note we got prize money bonuses for running under certain times…i.e. a “sub 3:10”) and top 10 places also got open prize money as well. Desco had a positive EPO test previously. What is known with a PED like EPO is that performance benefits can last fairly long-term. EPO is a fairly heavy hitting type of thing to be taking…

        1. Jackson Lee

          And the thing with EPO and how it is administered and tested is that there’s no “tainted supplement” excuse you can use. And a false positive is, for all intents and purposes, impossible. So when you get caught, the only thing you can really do is admit you cheated and move on. However, she continues to deny she cheated and plays the victim. And her husband, Marco De Gasperi, continues to back that story. In my opinion, that makes him complicit in her cheating [Redacted by the editor. A part of this comment doesn’t adhere to iRunFar’s comment policy for the way it slanders others. Here’s the comment policy, .]

    1. Brent

      While doping is embarrassing to the sport as you state, it can’t be ignored how much more competitive these European mountain races are than in the US. That, along with the Golden Trail Series putting on these competitive races, is great for the sport. Both good and bad consequences of mountain running being more popular over there.

    2. Jurriaan

      The comment about Europe is curious, to say the least: generalizing from 3 (?) instances in this list, of which one is not European.

    1. elle

      Also of note for the BRR- I believe Kristina and second place female Grayson Murphy are the only women other than Nikki Kimball to break the 4 hour barrier. Grayson also went under Nikki’s former CR by 2ish minutes (despite accidentally taking the longer route to the finish line).

      1. Chris

        It’s unfortunate that Grayson has chosen to provide an excuse for her finishing in second place. The fact is she was passed on the final descent to the finish, for which there are numerous options. Her Strava file clearly shows that she did NOT take the long route down. Grayson lost 6+ minutes to Kristina over the last 10 miles of the race.

  2. R Smith

    Kilian is so dang impressive. Also, kudos to IRF for continuing to note when athletes on the podium have received doping suspensions. That sort of transparency is important. Thanks for your work, as always!

  3. Sam

    I wonder what will happen at Pikes with killian? I assume the may focus will be getting as close to or better than carpenters uphill split. Killian clearly has the ups going on right now

  4. PikesGonnaPeak

    Will be interesting for sure with this form.

    SZ 31km 2200m – CR 2.25
    PP 42km 2382m – CR 3.16

    +182m + 11km
    51m more…

    The vert is much more spaced out but the altitude is higher. I think it’s doable…

    MB 42km 2780m – CR 3.30 (KJB)
    Kilian’s 3.40 in his only attempt seems pedestrian (for him) considering MB packs in more vert and is more technical over the same distance.

  5. Gary

    Watched the live stream of SZ, and second place guy clearly took a drink of water from mountain biking camera man mid race. I am surprised there’s been no hullabaloo about that?

    1. Joe G

      Saw that and was wondering if it’s against the rules? Now that we know he’s a doper, doesn’t surprise me if it is against the rules and he was trying to sneak it in.

      1. Meghan Hicks

        Gary and Joe G,

        To be clear, I haven’t seen the footage to which you’re both referring and I’ve not been to/worked at Sierre-Zinal so my knowledge base is really limited on this topic. I’m hoping someone with first-hand Sierre-Zinal knowledge comments soon.

        However, a quick check of the Sierre-Zinal online rules doesn’t seem to indicate stringent rules on where/how/by whom runners can be crewed/aided. There are rules about other common issues in trail running, though. For example they say poles aren’t allowed and runners are to stay on the marked course save for the final descent where shortcutting is allowed.

        Here’s the general rules page,, and here’s some additional information about aid stations,

        1. Gregory

          Hi Meghan,

          Here’s the footage:
          (from 1:13:15)

          The french-speaking version of the rules (the original one, does not really help:
          “Respect the aid stations […]” or “Attention to the end of [aid stations] zones” are the only hints about it. So do the rules clearly prohibit support outside the aid stations? Not really. What is certain is that no sanctions are foreseen for these cases. Does this seem surprising for such a competitive race, with so much experience and so well organized otherwise? Rather yes, however…my thoughts:
          Even if I imagine that a new race, nowadays, will automatically think to specify this in its rules, SZ exists since 1974 and at that time there was no biker-cameraman (no drone that broadcast live either ;)
          Moreover, Petro’s act did not appear to be planned. This is no excuse, but if the rules of a race do not explicitly prohibit it, there has been no cheating. If this is only happening now (46th edition) it is probably because it seemed logical for everyone to drink and eat at the aid stations only. This shows that it may be necessary to clarify the rules from now on :)

          1. Stephen Goldstein

            If it’s not in the rules he shouldn’t be penalized. However, the footage is awful. It appears he demands the bikers water bottle, and the guy is reluctant to give it, and Mamu keeps insisting until he hands it over. So he took aid from not even just a random person but a member of the production crew. It seems totally unethical to me and absolutely colors my opinion of him as an athlete, illegal under the rules or not.

    2. speedgoat

      Ha, so typical of Euro races for that to happen. I witnessed the same thing from Marco Olmo at UTMB when I ran there in 2007. Scott Jurek once said. “I guess we should race like they do”. But we still didn’t because we don’t cheat.

  6. Stefan C.

    A little more context on Maude and clomiphene. Clomiphene is a drug prescribed frequently (in the US and in Canada) to woman trying to conceive as it increases the chance of conception for couples with fertility problems. From what I understand she was not taking it mistakenly. She did have a baby from what I gather.
    Mamu was caught with formoterol. Formotetol is a stimulant (it can be used to treat asthma but (at least in the US and Canada), is very infrequently (if ever?) used for this purpose.

    1. Beth

      Yes, Clomid is a fertility drug to stimulate ovulation….it certainly would not help your performance, not pleasant!! I imagine an honest mistake by Maude but a reminder for these athletes to be careful in their deceleration to WADA. They will find themselves otherwise in the same categories of comments of those taking performance enhancing stimulants.
      Formotetol on the other hand….

    2. Meghan Hicks

      Stefan C. and all,

      The word ‘mistakenly’ in our text refers to Mathys mistakenly using the drug while competing without first requesting/being granted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE), and not her accidentally using the drug at all.

      Like most of the substances on the WADA banned list, clomiphene has potential sport-performance-enhancing effects. Like a goodly number of substances on the WADA banned list, clomiphene is used to treat legitimate medical conditions. Individuals who need or want to both use a substance on the WADA banned list (by way of a physician’s recommendation) and compete athletically must obtain a TUE before doing both.

      The original press release from the sanctioning body is no longer available online, but if you’d like to learn more, this is Mathys’s personal blog post about it,, and here’s some secondary reporting from back in 2015,

  7. Ronan

    Thanks for always reporrting dopers. No one else does in their reviews… Male second position is an embarrassment to the sport and so is a 9 month ban…

  8. Greg H

    If anything, Killian is underrated. He’s raced less this year as a result of being a new parent. As a result, he doesn’t seem to have the cumulative fatigue he seems to develop in typical years. I think this is most reflected in his running form. He’s moving like a top level 10000 meter runner. So smooth, almost imperceptibly powerful. It’s a thing of beauty.

    I hate allowing a few druggies into the race, but I really do like Euro races overall. I especially enjoy the larger size elite fields in the European races. IMO, prestigious U.S. lottery races could benefit from pre-reserving more spots for elites. Western States and (especially) Hardrock could be amazing if say 50 spots each were reserved for elite men and women. My opinion…

    1. Stephen Goldstein

      I don’t think the improvement in form you’re talking about is just down to a lack of fatigue. Kilian has been open about doing very focused training this year to improve speed with this race and Pikes Peak in mind, and has posted details of a handful of pretty jaw-dropping workouts. I agree it was amazing to see it put into action.

      1. PikesGonnaPeak

        They kind of go hand in hand. He said as much himself. previously he was racing up to 50 times a season and it was race and recovery strategy where he gave enough to win. Less racing means less fatigue and less fatigue enables him to do the specific and quality training and arrive fresh at the race.

  9. Wiz Chong

    I remember back in college, our trainer called us in after a workout one day, she asked how many of you are taking “muscle milk,” more than half of the group raised yes, innocently. She said, toss out whatever version was on the shelf at that time you bought recently, as you will fail an NCAA PED test. It contained an IGF-1 enhancer, which we were clueless about, as we all bought it off the shelf. Basically, it “could” enhance growth hormone production. None of us knew that, not one. We just knew it was great whey protein and tasted amazing. Mind you, this was 13 years ago, internet transparency and overall knowledge has increased since then, but my case in point, it was bought off the shelf by anybody. That’s just one example, of many, many supplements that you could get hit for, bought right off the shelf at your local vitamin and wellness shop, and suddenly, you’re a doper. I don’t believe that’s an accurate depiction.

    I don’t support knowingly PED use, like EPO and other heavy hitters, but PED is a blanket term, with many levels. Here’s the kicker too, just because one takes a PED, doesn’t suddenly sky rocket them to elite status. There are probably more risks at hand than anything else, especially if the user isn’t under strict medical supervision. I know many athletes between HS and college that took growth hormones, test boosters, and a variety of pre and post workout supplements. Nothing drastic changed with these athletes abilities, sure there workouts and aesthetics improved temporarily, but I also remember the side effects and injuries that popped up with these athletes throughout the seasons. PEDs are not a do all, cure all, they’re just not.

    It wasn’t too long ago that some in the sport were trying to blackball an elite trail runner for PEDs and in their words, he was a “doper.” Now call me crazy, but if endorsing cannabis for recovery and adventurous purposes, somehow falls in line with PEDs like EPO and HGH, then we’ve gone fully crazy.

    So what’s the line for supplementation to be crossed so feelings aren’t hurt? What falls under “doping” because the term is tossed around so much anymore, I can’t keep up.

    End rant.

    1. Meghan Hicks

      Wiz Chong,

      Each year the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) publishes its Prohibited List. For that year, what’s on the list can’t be used, and what’s not on the list can. There are nuances, such as some substances that can be used out of competition but not in competition. And some substances are allowed at under a specific level in urine or blood samples. And change/updates are made by WADA to the list from year to year. But the WADA Prohibited List outlines these specific details very clearly. Overall, the anti-doping rule is quite simple: every athlete is responsible for knowing and must adhere to not using the substances on the WADA Prohibited List.

      Here’s the 2019 WADA Prohibited List,

      1. SageCanaday

        Exactly what Meghan said. If you are a top level, sponsored athlete who competes for prize money, course records, gear, international travel perks and even “social media fame” (could be worth a change in lifestyle and career and tens of thousands of dollars) then it is your obligation to know what is on the WADA banned list. For me this is a job. If a doper displaces me in a race it is like someone stealing money from you at your office at work. This is really not that hard. It is really black and white and it is not complicated science…. You either break WADA rules or you do not. You either cheat or not. It is like you either “cut the course and run a shorter distance” or not. Sure, I could go to a local grocery store in the US and get DHEA and ingest it…that would totally be a banned substance and totally be cheating (despite being legal to the general population). It would probably help boost my testosterone. WADA has good scientific reasons to ban certain things at certain levels. Heck caffeine used to be banned in very high concentrations (i.e. if you took a bunch of pills). I mainly mention “top sponsored” athletes as we are the ones usually benefiting the most financially. But for any runner in any race…wouldn’t you want to have some integrity and follow the rules of the game? I mean would you cut a course and take shortcuts on a route if a course was marked and a certain distance (and the rules said you have to follow the course markings)?! Obviously some PEDs are more “heavy hitting” than others…and I think the penalties should be appropriate to each case…but right now in trail-mountain-ultra running you have the wild wild west with hardly any testing… and we know for a fact that the sport is definitely not clean…especially at the top end. I’ve always loved distance running because I thought it was build on the pillars of honesty, hard work, transparency, and integrity. Lets try to keep it that way. Thanks to iRunFar for actually stating facts and not beating around the bush with these important details. #cleansport

        1. Stephen Goldstein

          Thanks Sage and congrats on a great race. It must be incredibly frustrating to be on the results list behind a convicted doper. It’d be nice to hear what Kilian and Jim think about sharing the podium with Mamu, but I guess that’s not in the cards.

        2. Laye Disciple

          Sage, flesh out the support for the idea that “doping in pro sport is a different kind of sin than (choices we make as a result of) addiction.” I’m not convinced that’s true. It’s also not clear to me why you refer to alcohol, tobacco, and thc as “lifestyle drugs.” Are you working from a premise that using those substances is or isnt a “choice”? I understand you to be suggesting that doping is a “choice” and using “lifestyle drugs” may not be, at least for the addict.

          My basic response, based on what I can glean from what youve written is that theres an awful lot of evidence that the brain and the physiology of someone who “elects” to cheat will often look very different from the brain and physiology of the general population, and those differences can look a lot like, if not.identical to, the differences that make a small swath of the population susceptible to addiction.

          if thats the case, im not sure i agree that one-and-done makes sense as a policy. im also not sure that the irunfar scarlet letter policy makes sense, but i do like it intuitively. ive always thought public shaming a really underrated tool for rehabilitation and encouraging behaviors population-wide. i actually think our criminal justice system should use more of it. at the same time, i think its not often a good tool for combating addiction in individuals OR populations, so its intriguing to me that the consensus position seems to be that its a good partial remedy here.

      2. Camille H

        This race illustrates how the sport needs WADA accredited out-of-competition testing to catch more dopers and also to educate the athletes. Funding directed towards the Quartz Program, which is not a true OOC testing program with authority to sanction athletes, should be directed towards putting top athletes in a true OOC testing program. American athletes have also expressed an interest in paying out of pocket to help fund a true OOC testing program.

        Having been part of USADA’s OOC testing as a marathoner, they educate on being responsible for ‘everything’ that goes in and on your body. There is a lot of great FAQ info on the USADA website. They are usually good at responding to any questions, or you can call their drug reference line, Athletes need to be educated about looking up any questionable drugs they are taking (phone app/GlobalDRO), the risks of supplements (which are not regulated by the FDA), TUEs, the risk of CBD/hemp/marijuana products, massage oils and creams, medical emergencies, IV fluids, and even the risk of tainted meat/water in foreign countries. There’s the USOC ombudsman, which is a free legal service for athletes.

        There’s also anonymous whistleblowing:

        Many road races as well have been implementing a no-tolerance policy where if you’ve been caught doping, you can’t compete for prize money and awards.

        Thanks as always to IRunFar for continuing to report on the athletes who have been caught doping!

      3. Lightning

        It’s weird that trail running cedes all doping rules to WADA. The NFL, NBA, MLB, etc. don’t follow WADA rules. If we were to have all the stakeholders discuss which drugs should or shouldn’t be banned, would we come up with the same list as WADA? I think not. I understand there’s a connection between WADA and Olympic sports, but trail/mountain running isn’t always governed by the same organizations.

        1. SageCanaday

          And that is exactly part of the problem. WADA enforcement and testing doesn’t cover trail-ultra running (unless its a USA Champs or World Cup type of event) as they are usually private races. There are different PEDs depending on the sport (endurance sports differ from a lot of other more explosive sports and contact….there are different levels/types and lists PEDs for other types of activity). The NFL and MLB is ripe with doping…just like cycling. Read the book “Game of Shadows” for better insight into this. I don’t care about any other sports besides distance running (it is my main passion). I think for the most part mountain-ultra-trail running is one of the cleanest sports out there….and I hope this kind of discussion will keep it that way! #cleansport

          1. Lightning

            My problem is WADA doesn’t seem to answer to anyone. They can and do ban lots of over-the-counter stuff that non-athletes and nonserious athletes use all the time. I’d respect them more if there were athlete representatives in the decision process for each drug and drug type listed. I expect pros to look up substances on labels to make sure that they aren’t banned, but technically, nonpros can get and occasionally do get busted for totally inadvertent use just because they signed up for some random race. If somehow a race like the Boston Marathon had funds to test 100% of the runners, you’d probably get hundreds if not thousands of inadvertent positives because most hobby joggers DO take over-the-counter stuff without looking up their WADA legality. Would it be fair to call these hobby joggers “dopers”?

            I agree that MLB and NFL and other sports are likely full of dope users. But I like that they have athlete unions that have a voice about doping policies. At least they have input, and I think that’s important. They decide as a group how strict the rules are and how clean or dirty they can be, and whether to include only the “hard” substances or also the ticky-tack stuff.

    2. SageCanaday

      I think a PED in endurance running might actually help top level “elite” runners more than a mid packer. If you are looking for a marginal gain and already training really hard, have all the gear and support you need….then a boost from say a 2:10 marathon down to a 2:05 marathon could mean the difference between making the Olympics or not. It could mean the difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars. You become a dream and career killer. People serve jail time for stealing money in other endeavors. Compare that to a marathoner who improves from 3:30 down to 3:20. Sure, they knocked off 10-minutes, but the “marginal gain” from a PED is going to be less of a factor compared to other things (i.e. like losing 5 lbs of fat or training 60 miles a week instead of the usual 45 miles a week). You still have to work hard on PEDs and get a faster recovery between hard efforts.

      1. Mark

        Sage, In general I agree with you about doping and the long-term effects on performance. However, the 2nd-place athlete served a ban determined by a governing body. You may disagree with the length of the ban (like I do), but how can a national or world championship organizer decide for themselves to extend that ban? I know that GTS is essentially a “private” series but shouldn’t race organizers be bound by the overall governing body in this area, instead of making what is really an arbitrary decision to ban an athlete? I would imagine that these athletes could sue these “private” bans in court and win. Instead of calling out these athletes, who are just following the rules for getting back into their sport, we should call out the organizations who issue short bans and try to change it there. The female athlete who is called out here had a positive test ten years ago. She has had several recent high finishes and I assume she is being tested. How long should she be called out as long as she is following the rules? What are your thoughts on this? (Beyond just disagreeing with the initial length of the ban or the length of the positive influence of the substances, which we agree on). These athletes are just playing by the rules for getting back into their sport.

          1. John Vanderpot

            As this is clearly a topic whose time has come, I’d like to encourage Sage or someone equally educated, articulate, informed, and passionate about it to put together a cohesive piece that outlines the extent of the problem(s) and proposes some solutions, it obviously wouldn’t be the final word on the topic, but rather a place to hopefully begin to come to some sort of focused resolution?

            1. Mark

              I think iRunFar has tried to lay down a line with their policy (linked elsewhere) and there was a conversation that was initiated at that time. Obviously this is an ongoing issue and we have some very important races excluding athletes, and other promoters allowing banned athletes who have served their “sentence.” But few promoters seem to recognize WADA or USADA standards and even fewer bother with drug testing. There is a mis-match between “official” oversight and independent race promoters that leave athletes in a limbo-land. I would like to hear some non-American viewpoints as well as Sage’s. Let’s have this conversation now before even more prize money and popularity draws unacceptable actors into the sport.

            2. Meghan Hicks

              Hi John Vanderpot and all,

              Since these articles published some time ago, I’d like to link back to them, as I think both articles did great a job of approaching the doping issues of trail running and ultrarunning in educated, constructive, progressive ways. In them you can kind of see the ‘state of the union’ when it comes to health monitoring and drug testing, ideas writers have had about how all community members can work to minimize doping, and more.

              Ian Sharman penned this article in latest 2015:
              And Ian Torrence wrote this in 2017:

              Thanks so much to everyone who is engaging in this conversation in such a productive and constructive way. I am really proud of us right now!

  10. Emma Negrete

    Karina Carsolio, a mexican runner, was 20th in Sierre Zinal! She’s one of the best trail runner in Mexico and she almost didn’t race because if injury! We’re so proud of her! I was a but bummed to not see her name in this arricle. It was a great day for mexicans!

  11. Pkwg75

    Sierre Zinal 2019 was one of the most exciting race ever with tremendous performances from Kilian Jornet, Maud Mathys and others
    What are this article and comments are focusing on ? Doping? Seriously…

    1. Ronan

      well it is a bit of an issue when the 2nd classified got busted twice, for some pathetic reason was banned only 9 months, and is now back breaking course records. If it weren’t for Kilian he would have won… Or you just want the show and look elsewhere? This is not NFL.

      1. Claude

        There’s surely a doping issue but it’s the same in every competitive (lucrative…) sport.
        No need to obsess about it all the time.
        Mamu it’s a better athlete than many of the ones complaining, he voluntarily underwent the QUARTZ program tests before the race and then arrived just 56 seconds after Kilian.

        1. Ronan

          The fact that doping exists in other sports is of no relief for me concerning trail running. I used to be into cycling, stopped following, and now am following again because I’ve cynically accepted that they’re all on some sort of PEDs. I just wish that I don’t get to the point where I feel the same about trail running. When someone breaks a record or wins a race, I want to be able to admire that athlete without feeling suspicious. Having a doper, caught twice not so long ago actually running and breaking a course record instead of being suspended is a disgrace and not fair for other athletes.
          Regarding Quartz, it’s not a doping testing program, and actually would make dopers look legit. Not good for the sport as quite a few pros have said.

    2. Meghan Hicks


      I respectfully disagree that this article is “focusing” on doping. The vast majority of the information in this article is about how Sierre-Zinal competitively played out as well as results from other races around the world. However, iRunFar has a policy regarding our coverage of doping in our sport, which includes mentioning previous official doping sanctions of athletes when their names appear on iRunFar. You can read this policy, which includes our reasoning for it, here.

  12. Martin

    While I’ve been impressed with Kilian’s abilities over many years, I must say I watch admirably his intelligence and long term focus that only seems grow with experience. A good runner is smart runner. To be the best one you need not just a talent, you also need to be the smartest guy out there. Both on the race field as well as in the training.
    And I am not talking only about racing. I get a bad feeling when someone announces he’s going up to go up in the Himalayas. I didn’t have that with him. The white paper they later wrote with Emelie on their preparation for Himalayas is worth reading.

  13. speedgoat

    Thanks for the shout out at the UTE 100. It is truly one of the greatest 100 mile courses I’ve ever run. For those who like high altitude races, that are technical, tough and just hard. The UTE 100 is for you. Get away from all the crowds and enjoy a killer mountain run in the LaSals, you won’t be disappointed. Congrats to Trevor Fuchs for running a stellar race!

    1. Thad Will

      Karl–next year you need to check out Eastern States 100! Your description of the UTE 100 is spot on for ES 100… only instead of elevation, we have humidity in the mountains of central PA. Perfect weather graced this years race, leading to the highest finisher pool yet and local 21-year old phenom Wesley Atkinson breaking the previous course record by 2 hours.

      1. Speedgoat

        haha, I’m not so sure topping out at 2000′ is any comparison to 12,200′. It’s a bit different. In fact, it’s very different. I’m sure the ES 100 is tough, and technical. Also, 17 aid stations makes it easy peasy to carry anything, if anything….at all. UTE forces many runners to carry gear needed for extreme conditions. No conditions in PA compare to lightning on a ridge at 12k… It’s just different. Not saying ES is bad, I’ve never run it, so my comments are mearly speculation. Humidity is overrated, and PA has “hills”, not mountains. No offense to those who believe so. It’s all relative to where we live

        1. Rick Hohman

          I ran UTE last year and ES this year, and I have to agree wholeheartedly with Karl on this one. ES is a great race with a great community, but it doesn’t compare to the shear difficulty of UTE based upon its elevation and aid station gaps. UTE is the most scenic of the 16 different 100’s that I have personally run.

    2. J

      It’s indeed a beautiful course, but people need to realize that it’s run by someone who apparently believes it’s OK to joke about sexual assault allegations.

      I can handle his failings as an RD (three aid stations in a row running low on water at GDR, for example), but I feel morally obligated to let people know about this kind of behavior.

      1. Eric

        I’m disappointed to hear about the aid stations and sexual assault allegations are to be taken very seriously. But what’s the context of the link?

        1. J

          Read through the comments, you’ll see what I mean. Someone accuses him of slapping her ass and calling her a “solid 6” during a race, and his response was “that’s such a 6 thing to say”.

          I’m not sure if the accusation was true, but his response was disgusting either way.

    3. Trevor

      Thanks Karl, and likewise!! That race was, indeed, loaded with spectacular views and the contrast between alpine and red rock is sublime. It’s worth it for the climb up to Mann’s Peak alone.

    4. shitinthewoods

      The La Sal Mountains are a truly amazing stage for an ultra, but I’m with J – I can’t overlook the morally reprehensible actions/comments of the RD, in addition to multiple other disagreeable instances of race organization/policy inconsistencies and social/public interactions. He has an undeniable seemingly cult-like following consisting of apparently plenty of individuals who probably think all of the above is laughable and that “boys will be boys,” but like J pointed out, more people should know.

      If you’re looking for an equally epic, difficult, and unique place to run an ultra in the summer in Utah, I’d personally choose Tushars 100k – at least until another RD organizes a race in the La Sals. I hate to say that because I ran the inaugural Ute 100 last year and absolutely loved it for all the reasons speedgoat mentioned.

      And on the topic of Ute 100, this year’s course was considerably different from last year’s, and the RD has advertised more significant changes to the course for next year.

  14. Anti justice warrior

    In a hypothetical world, Say a racer places 32nd at a competitive race..he tests positive for EPO or some form of PED..more random testing other than top 5, not likely..but what if..

    Is there still an uproar? Doubt it..

    1. Paul

      I’ve seen plenty of folks admit in other running forums that they use cannabis during races. They rationalize that they aren’t competing, only running for themselves.

      I think they are cheaters.

      1. John Vanderpot

        Out of not quite random curiosity, does that carry over to folks who sip a beer at an AS too?

        We may, going forward, want to determine where we’re drawing our lines and hold our ground?

        My sympathies certainly go to those who are competing for a living and playing by the rules…

        Ya’ll have some choices/options (an organized, announced boycott of events that indulge cheaters for instance, say?) going forward, and I hope, for the integrity of the game, you’ll consider exercising them?

        1. Bryon Powell

          There’s a significant difference in talking about cannabis and alcohol in the context of talking about prohibited PEDs… in running, ethanol is permitted in competition while THC is not under WADA rules.

          That said, I’d guess a large number (majority?) of US ultras don’t officially bar use of any WADA or USADA prohibited PEDs.

      2. LA Chocolope


        I wholeheartedly disagree with that. Coming from somebody who’s not a newb at the topic at hand, go ahead..smoke a bowl mid race or take a dose of edibles at an aid station..I can promise you, you won’t be setting any PR’s that day..

        Now after the race..let’s talk..

        1. Bryon Powell

          While you’re more than welcome to use pseudonyms in commenting on iRunFar, we’d encourage you to use a consistent one… especially when commenting on the same article.


  15. Wiz Chong

    My utmost respect goes out to the true elites in the sport. Ya’ll inspire and encourage the everyday runner to simply chase their dreams, and enjoy the gift of running.

    My day to day running is different than Sage’s and many others. You’re absolutely right, for some of you, it’s a job, and damn cool job at that!

    PEDs are nothing new, in fact, they’re probably much more advanced than even A decade ago . Race day testing clearly isn’t substantial. So until more random off season testing takes place, the witch hunt here continues. Now I am not a pro athlete, but I was a college athlete, and in a contact sport nonetheless, PEDs could be supposedly be hugely advantageous, and quite honestly, most times it never really added up to what many immediately suspect. I stand by, there are more risks than rewards with doping.

    Implement random testing to really gauge what’s going on..basing all assumptions about an athlete from a popped test years ago, which very well could have been an unknown tainted substance. Supplement transparency has grown tremendously, and to ignore that potential is just bs and self righteous to all. For anybody that has had a dui, criminal or addiction past in sport, do we immediately try and embarrass them in town square and bring up their wrongs years later, NO, we embrace their past and hopefully they do too, that’s how we grow as people and a community. Now a repeat offender, that’s a different conversation, rightfully so.

    1. SageCanaday

      Comparing a sponsored pro runner deliberating using PEDs like EPO or testosterone or HGH to gain an unfair advantage and steal money/sponsorship/attention in competitive sport to someone (even a non-runner) who has an alcohol problem at gets a DUI is a totally invalid comparison.

      We’re not talking about drugs like tobacco or alcohol or heroin/pain killers and these other lifestyle substance addictions. Totally different. I don’t know why people always bring up other “drug addictions” as that is a night and day difference with athletic performance enhancing PEDs.

      You don’t accidentally inject/ingest EPO or get HGH or testosterone as a sponsored athlete in a competitive sport usually without knowing exactly what you are doing… Sure, someone could mistakenly get DHEA instead of DHA at the grocery store without knowing the difference (big difference!!)….there have been positive cases with this (it is debatable whether or not he/she knew what he was doing)…but the penalties are still a “slap on the wrist” anyway. We hardly ever get tested anyway. It’s not like its a multi-year ban even usually! It’s not a lifetime ban (although for some substances….depending on what they are and depending on the circumstances I think it should be). The sport is definitely not clean. People are deliberating cheating.

      Runners in a competitive race need to know the rules of the game…especially the top runners. Whether this is following a marked course or not getting aid outside of aid stations or not taking certain substances/drugs. #cleansport

  16. Gary

    Thanks Megan. I’ll confess I’d not looked at rules, so public apologies for that…If the race doesn’t care, then neither do I! I really was just kind of surprised to see it right there during the race, with some of the DQ situations we’ve seen in our sport.

  17. Phil Taylor

    The article says “That Mamu also beat the former course best by such a wide margin is perhaps the only–well, not the only–part of the day that took away from Jornet’s accomplishment”.

    I am not sure if i am reading it correctly, but i think you are saying that there were things that detracted from the event beyond the “ex-doper Mamu comes 2nd etc” stuff that’s already been well commented on.

    So what were these other things? Or is that a reference to Maude and her result and history?

    1. Justin Mock

      Hi Phil,

      First, it really did surprise me that Jornet beat the record by so much and two, that the second-place finisher beat the record by so much too. You hold longstanding records like that in a certain regard, and when they’re broken more than once and by this much, it somewhat shakes your thoughts on history and those of earlier generations. I’ve got those same thoughts leading up to the Pikes Peak Marathon in a week and half, with me being here in Colorado and having run Pikes a few years.

      As for your question though, it was just that – that Mamu’s inclusion on the podium would inevitably bring alternate conversations away from Jornet’s record. Mamu’s entry into the race had already generated comments even before his second-place finish.


      1. Mark

        Hey Justin,
        One thing about Carpenter’s record, as great as it is, is that for many years the Pikes Peak Marathon just did not have a very competitive field. In the 90’s there was practically no allowance for elites. Imagine how Matt would have performed if he had some competition in that record-setting race? The current promoters have actively sought deeper elite fields with WMRA championships and now the GTS. It is natural that more competitive races are going to endanger these records that were set in essentially solo performances. It is incredible what Carpenter did. However, this year’s PPM field is probably the most competitive in history. I am excited to see what happens.

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