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Reid Coolsaet runner experience: “The drug tester came to collect my urine but I couldn’t hold my poop.”

Rio-bound Reid Coolsaet, Canada's second fastest marathoner ever, details a humorous moment during a surprise drug test.

Reid Coolsaet

It’s not all fun and glamorous to be a professional athlete. One aspect of pro running that many fans may not know too much about is what happens in a drug test. Throughout the year, testers surprise athletes at their homes to take samples in a fight against the use of performance-enhancing drugs. 

The testers, on behalf of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), the country’s doping control body, take an athlete’s urine and blood samples. According to the CCES, almost all doping control is done without advanced notice. In other words, put bluntly, if you’re a pro athlete in Canada, be ready for a tester from CCES to show up at your house and stick around until you pee in a cup. During a visit, an athlete is supervised at all times either by the tester or a chaperone.

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Canadian marathon runner Reid Coolsaet has plenty of experience with the practice. The 36-year-old has been at running’s highest level for more than a decade. As he shares in his most recent blog post, unexpected visits can have certain obstacles. The inability to pee on command, being one such example.

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Coolsaet, who is now based in Hamilton, Ont. after a lengthy stint in nearby Guelph, was tested twice last week. The first test lasted only 20 minutes. The second took a little longer. Let’s just say there were some complications… 

The early morning, out-of-competition visit required Coolsaet to provide up to 100 mL of urine. The only issue was that he had just gone to the washroom. Three bottles of water later, his problem still wasn’t solved. 

“After a while I was pretty sure I could go, but I couldn’t squeeze out a drop,” writes Coolsaet. “I tried the trick of putting the tap on to hear the sound of water, still nothing. Waited a little longer then tried again, still nothing. I knew why too, I had to take a number two and my body wouldn’t relax my peeing mechanism knowing that I might crap my pants.”

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He only has one way to solve this problem. He had to poop in front of the tester. Because an athlete must be supervised at all times during a visit to prevent any sort of sample tampering, Coolsaet had no choice but to have that extra set of eyes on him while he relieved himself.

“Taking a crap in front of someone is only slightly humbling,” Coolsaet continues. “Wiping your butt in front of someone is when it gets weird (avoiding eye contact helps). Anyways, I was able to pee right after and get that portion of the drug test done. After that I had blood drawn.”

Coolsaet shared the rather graphic story because it provides insight for those interested in what’s involved in the testing process. Of course, for tested athletes, there’s the occasional story that comes with it. He concluded by joking that he had to pee five times on a 16K run thanks to the three bottles of water he drank earlier.

Let’s just note that this isn’t the first time Coolsaet has written about a famous poop incident. In 2011, the runner has to poop in the middle of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon– Canada’s most prestigious race. He pooped at the side of the road, got a ton of media attention and also wrote down the dirty details in a blog post.

So, now that all that business is out of the way, what’s next for this favourite Canadian runner?

Coolsaet will be travelling to Rio for the Olympics on Aug. 15, well after the opening ceremonies. The newlywed will be travelling later to fit in more training before the Games and to reduce distractions associated with staying in the Olympic Village.

The men’s marathon is the final athletics event and takes place on Aug. 21. He will be joined by Speed River Track Club teammate Eric Gillis on start line of the men’s marathon.

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