async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: Not my sport!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Not my sport!


I'm sure by now most of you have heard about the scandal surrounding Kenyan athlete Rita Jeptoo, the two time Chicago marathon women's winner. Apparently she failed a drug test a few weeks before the marathon this year. Since this is breaking news, there are a lot of unknowns at this point, including what substance was used, and what the Chicago marathon is going to do about her prize. Stay tuned...

Of course, my mind was just swirling with thoughts about this. I couldn't sleep last night--not because of this, but since I was awake, I gave this some thought. Last spring I wrote a blog post on cheaters after 4 people were found to have copied a woman's Boston marathon bib and ran with it, taking medals at the finish line. You can read this here. My key point of that post was that runners are inherently honest. And by saying that, I meant both amateurs and elites. But after doing a little reading this morning, I see that is changing. The stakes are higher, the pressure to win stronger. I don't know about you, but my image of the Kenyans was always of tiny, scrappy runners, who run on grit and train in the mountains; that winning a big race is the key to a better life. Which all makes sense why the temptation to dope would be hard to overcome.

Look at Lance Armstrong....


Where is he now? Besides being a punch line...

So many regular folks, runners like me, are always following the elites and monitoring what they do for nutrition, training...makes me wonder if there are a lot of regular athletes using banned substances. 


I, apparently, have used a banned substance. Actually several. You probably have too. I didn't use them intentionally to boost my performance, but by taking sudafed for a bad cold, I learned how well it made me run. The morning after I took it, I felt like I had a power boost! I ran really fast. Plus I could breathe, which is always a plus. Curious to learn more about this, I consulted the banned substances list. Sudafed? Banned. Cough and cold medicines? Read the labels because they have banned substances in them. Including my beloved Vicks Vapo Inhaler. Who knew? I also learned that caffeine is a banned substance. Banned beyond consumption which leads to 15 mcg/ml in urine-- apparently more than what the normal individual would consume. So whew, I can still drink my one or two cups before my morning run without fear of breaking the rules. Albuterol inhalers for asthma? Performance enhancer. But you can get an exemption if it is medically necessary. Whew.

Of course, no one is testing me. There's no prize money for the middle of the pack. But if all these everyday, normal products are banned, why do elites risk it and take something exotic? Why not just train and run? When does it become so important to win? And even more important, how to do you feel good about winning when you've cheated? My kids tell me that cheating is rampant in school. I raised them to know that cheating is wrong. But if everyone around you is cheating, do you start to feel like it's ok to cheat? Maybe these elites are all doping....

I sure hope not. I look up to Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan, Deena Kastor, Lauren Fleishman...I hope they're training clean. 


I guess there will always be cheaters, in sport, in life. I'm just sad that it happened to my sport. Do I add Jeptoo to my Great Liars in Running Hall of Fame? She'd be my first elite to join the club.

There is a bright spot in all of this, for me at least...if they take away Jeptoo's win, instead of coming in 17,521th place at the marathon, I get to move up to 17,520! Woo hoo!

18 comments :

  1. I had not heard this. Sad! What I don't understand is don't they know they'll be tested and caught? I hope the American women are clean too. Such an inspiration!

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  2. This is so disapointing, but I am sure greed and pride gets in the way when it comes to those vying for that big prize money.

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  3. Thoughtful post here. I read every word. This is new news to me too...I hadn't heard this yet. Sad. But not shocking. At the same time, I think the problem is so much bigger than the person and their personal decision. What's behind the story that we will never be told? Gosh, how disappointing. Makes me feel sad for Jeptoo too...what's behind this for her? There is so so much to the story with everything in life (not just this topic of cheating) so much we don't know about what's really behind the scenes..what's behind the puppets in life...what's true/real and what isn't? Makes you wonder about much.

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    1. I really don't like or understand it. Seems like cheating has permeated every aspect of our lives. I wonder when it is all going to stop.

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  4. Lance was one of my biggest disappointments. I read his book and was such a big fan of his. I defended him until the end. Athletes are not meant to be heroes. I don't get the whole cheating thing in genereal-so sad

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    1. I totally agree with you. I kept thinking Lance was all talent. Boo on him.

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  5. I am super surprised by cheaters and dishonesty. But I guess they want the money so bad? Or fame? I will never get that.

    Interesting that a lot of cold meds are banned! I was surprised how well I felt running Naperville last year, fueled by Mucinex. LOL!!!

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    1. And I guess that's why they're banned! But I did enjoy my sudafed enhanced run!!!

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  6. She can kiss the 500,000 bye bye. Cheaters may win initially, but in the end, they lose. As does everyone who looks up to them. Sad. It does kinda make you wonder who else is doping though. I mean the Elites are getting faster and faster. Whatever happens, I hope it sends a clear message. Instead of 'just do it' it should be 'just don't'. Lol :)

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  7. This is a great post, Wendy; I, too, was thinking a lot about this over the weekend. Specifically, "really?!? Not you, too, runners! Jeez!" I mean, I really give the athletes who "dope" a hard time...can hardly stand to even watch baseball anymore and the Lance Armstrong incident had me thinking about a lot of other sports, as well. I was definitely shocked to hear about this. And what happens now? Well, I'm sure she'll be tested again and it'll probably come out negative; but won't that shadow still be hanging over her (and maybe even other elites) now that the cat is out of the bag? Thanks for sharing, and I'm glad to hear you'll now be at a nice, round finishing number - ha!

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    1. That's the thing...they'll retest her and then what? And I won't move up in the standings... lol!

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  8. I love how you ended that! :) I also wonder what the top elites think about it. My blogger friend Tina came in 31st among the women so I guess she would move up to 30th! Also congrats on Chicago! :)

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  9. Wow, I had no idea psuedoephedrine would be a banned substance, but I guess it makes sense. Very disappointing about Rita Jeptoo...she won Boston this year too. Curious to see how the situation plays out!

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    1. So disappointing. But considering how fast everyone is getting, makes me wonder what's going on.

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