Twitter came alight on the evening of Monday 18th July when British ultra runner Robbie Britton broke the news that Ecuador athlete, Gonzalo Calisto had tested positive for EPO.
You can see a screenshot of the IAAF website HERE
The test was taken on the 29th August 2015 – the day that Calisto placed 5th at arguably the most high profile race on the ultra calendar – Ultra Trail Mont-Blanc.
Needless to say this is devastating news for the sport! Drug taking and awareness of drug abuse is something that gained a high profile at the end of 2015, highlighted at San Francisco 50 (see post here).
More importantly why have UTMB and UTWT not responded to this and sent out a media release and if this positive test is confirmed, as the IAAF suggests, why is Calisto still listed as 5th at UTMB?
I have contacted both UTMB and UTWT. I have received no reply from UTMB but the UTWT did respond immediately saying:
“We will communicate very shortly on this matter. “
I have also contacted Calisto and asked for feedback. I know him, not very well I must add, but I did spend an extended time with him earlier this year while he raced in Costa Rica.
Ultimately, there are two sides to every story and we should hear a balanced argument. However, the lack of response from UTWT, UTMB and Calisto himself is somewhat alarming. I think it’s important now to be proactive, not hide our heads in the sand and fight this face on. If not, we are doomed….
UPDATE 19th July 17:43 Europe time – UTMB respond
“Hi Ian, UTMB® is preparing a news release which is ready tonight or tomorrow morning.”
BREAKING NEWS UTMB PRESS RELEASE 19th July 1930 hours
Look at the current mess in athletics, the mess cycling has been in. We don’t want this for trail, ultra, mountain and Skyrunning.
The above document dated 24th June is worrying. Go to the IAAF website and look at how many athletes are currently sanctioned according to information received by IAAF as of June 24th. http://www.iaaf.org/about-iaaf/documents/anti-doping click on the ‘EN’ black box:
Or download the list HERE
In Callisto’s case his test is confirmed as ‘in competition’
In competition testing is imperative and more importantly, out of competition testing and blood passports are the way forward. It’s time we have these protocols put in place, in particular for key events such as UTMB. Ironically, UTMB has no prize money!
Welcome your thoughts and I am sure we will have many!