This post is a part of the Trail Runner Magazine blog symposium.
In short…well, yes and no…but unfortunately the answer isn’t nearly as black and white as a simple yes or a no.
For the average Joes, us middle and back of the packers, who are simply out there to push our limits, test ourselves and enjoy the adventure of trail racing, testing for performance enhancing drugs should not be considered. For us at most races there is nothing at stake except finishing and basking in our personal accomplishment. There isn’t any prize money or fame to be had.
Does that mean that some normal person won’t resort to artificially enhancing their performance? Of course not, but with nothing at stake, who cares. They are only cheating themselves and that’s a shame.
Now, for those runners that are vying for the victory in races that have prize money, yes, they should be tested. It’s a sad fact of competition in this day and age that there will always be someone looking for an illegal edge. Unfortunately the honest people have to suffer because of it.
However I do not think the financial burden of the drug testing should fall on the race or on us average Joe runners who make up the majority of the field. If you are an “elite” runner in contention for the victory and prize money the cost of testing should be added to your entry fee.
No matter how you slice it, it’s a sad day when a grassroots sport such as trail running has to consider the implications of drug testing. Luckily for me I’m too slow to have to worry about it.