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IAAF Gold Label races to implement out-of-competition drug testing

The new ruling goes a long way towards closing a doping loophole at big international races


The IAAF Council has approved out-of-competition drug testing for IAAF Gold Label races, which in Canada include the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon, and the Ottawa 10K. The Abbott World Major Marathons have had out-of-competition testing for some time (i.e. athletes accepted into those races could be tested anytime, anywhere), but the more sophisticated dopers might slip through the cracks at Gold Label races, which previously have not had extensive out-of-competition testing. The IAAF’s new funding scheme for out-of-competition testing is designed to prevent this.

Athletes who are subject to out-of-competition testing must provide their whereabouts at all times and can be tested anytime, anywhere in the world, rather than only on race day. This type of testing will now be funded for athletes who compete at Gold Label races as well as World Major Marathons.

Out-of-competition testing was developed and funded in order to catch the more sophisticated dopers who knew how to avoid detection when they knew they would only be tested on race day.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Photo: Canadian Running

RELATED: World Marathon Majors ramp up drug testing

According to the IAAF, in 2018, 76 per cent of winners at Gold Label races were not subject to any out-of-competition drug testing. Therefore those who are not part of their federation’s drug testing pool could compete at Gold Label races and only be tested after the race (in competition). And in 22 per cent of Gold Label races, none of the podium finishers were tested out of competition.

“I’m really delighted to see the IAAF extending the antidoping campaign to Gold Label races,” says Alan Brookes, race director of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, one of only three IAAF Gold Label events in Canada. “…If the anti-doping programme had not been extended to our events, then I expressed the serious concern that the dopers would just move down the line from WMM races to Gold Label ones. I think it’s critical for the integrity of the sport and community that we collaborate and work together. Everyone’s effort is needed from the top down if we are to overcome this scourge. We all have a part to play in delivering top-quality running experiences that also embrace fair competition…”

Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon 2019. Photo: Maxine Gravina

For more information on drug testing of Canadian athletes, go to the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) website, here.


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