Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Doping Scandals Just Seem to Grow

I don't talk much about cheaters in distance running because it's frustrating. I was beaten by Rita Jeptoo at the 2013 Chicago Marathon who was later banned. I was beaten by Ezkyas Sisay Tsegaya in the 2011 Des Moines Half Marathon who was also later banned. These two were already better than me, why did they have to cheat? Those are just the two high profile examples I know of.

As the IAAF comes under more pressure to get the cheaters out, and I hope we do flush the cheaters out, the sport loses something. I suppose it loses it's innocence. Hard work? What is that? The other side of it is, I've never been drug tested for sport. I've been drug tested twice for employment, but never for sport. Personally I think rather highly of myself and my running accomplishments, like I should be someone who gets tested, at least once in the last 15 years!

Another frustrating part is, role models. Athletes are entertainers, public figures, and role models for the next generation, and every time a winner is caught, or worse, a winner not caught, or just as bad people behind the winner are cheating, they cheapen or reduce the value of the responsibility that professional athletes have. Every time I hear about a lack of male role models I want to scream, "look at me!" But I know I am not perfect and I have many flaws, so I say nothing. Time and again the people we look up to have just lost our trust. Lance Armstrong, Jared Fogle, Tiger Woods, Ray Rice, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Bill Cosby...where does it end?

The part about doping and cheating in long distance running that hurts is the thought that I might have been closer to the front. I don't mind getting beat. If I did my best, and they did their best, and they beat me, congratulations to them. I know my best is good and fast in running, but to continue putting in the level of training that I do and commit to the sport as much as I do, with no chance of doing as well as people cheating makes me question why I keep trying. Sebastian Coe, why should I keep trying? Max Siegel, why should I keep trying?

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