I’m not a professional runner. I’m an amateur, with dreams which mantain my passion for adventure. Plainly, experiences in nature are my day-to-day targets, for every train and every run. I have never ran for prizes, or medal or recognizement, least of all for money. During these 13 years full of adventures I have filled my spirit with livings and learnings, and I have had the luck to share them with lots of generations of adventurers on lots of countries. During these years, I have witnessed exponential grow of trailrunning all over the world, and today trailrunning has lots of fans on my country on lots of running events.
Physiology: I have always been fascinated for the mountains, specially for the tall ones. I learnt to run there, to go up and down, walking and running, pushing myself and learning how the nature and strenght of the mountains fills our body and spirit. Ecuador, due to its geographical situation – Quito its capital 3000m above sea level – mountains with different heights and terraings and even different weather. Due to this, it is a privileged playground to train and go outdoors. Sport events are usually run on mountain and in zones, which go fron 3000 to 4500m+. Our bodies adapt to the high altitude and our blood is dense, which allows oxigenation. This process does not happen on sea level, and this training in altitude is scientifically known and used by lots of athletes to improve performance. It is called ‘altitude training’ and it’s a natural process. Legal At a country level, in Ecuador Trail running is not registered as a sport. No federation guides it, and it is not regulated by any ministery or govenrnment agency. Every trailrun event is private, and there are no licenses to ‘legally’ compete nor standarised rules. At an international level, Trail running is availed by the different athletic federations on the diferent countries, and runners have a local ranking to run on some important events. So, inside this called ‘elite’ they got licenses granted by their respective federations. These licenses somehow guarantee sport protocols between runners and sport event organizations.
IAAF is the organization which handles rules on elite athletics at a world level. IAAF runs an world ultratrail championship, but does not avail more trail events, as they are not considered ‘big events’ such as olimpic or panamerican games. This way, UTMB is not on their list.
AFLD: The French Agency against doping is the organization who takes care of doping on sport events on France.
ITRA: The Internationan Association of Trail Running, is an organization wich mantains a ranking based on an index generated based on the performance of a given athlete in different runs.
EPO: The eritropoyetin hormone, is an hormone which makes blood dense. It is naturally generated on hypoxic conditions, such as high altitude..
UTMB: UTMB is the most prestigious long-distance trailrun, which goes arond the Mont-Blanc. It is a private event, with no prices in money, which gathers 2500 runners from all around the world. 300 of them are ‘elite’ or ‘professional’. UTMB has its own ranking, based on the points gained for the participants in different sport events which UTMB avails.
CASE: During the UTMB I went on a doping control, before the depart and another after the run. This test marked positive, showing presence of EPO, but without specifying which kind of EPO was found, nor the EPO levels.
AFLD was the one who ran these tests and the one who reported the case to the IAAF.
I asked for the analysis, but I could never review the exact results. Altough IAAF regulates professional sport they have make public the results obtained.
However, they have not considered that I am not a professional athlete. I don’t have a license and I don’t belong to any federation, so the have no jurisdiction on ‘punishing’ me.
UTMB organisation had no knowledge on this case until it was public on social networks. This shows also the lack of coordination between these two organizations.
Positive test should be analized in the ‘B’ take to ratificate EPO presence. This second test should ratificate the first positive and its levels or mark the first test as a false positive. This second test is usually done upon solicitation from the federation which the athlete belongs to, which is usually the one who extends the license to the athlete. In my case, as I don’t have a license, UTMB should make me firm a provisional license to allow me to participate with the ‘elite’ ones. I never firmed that document. Besides, they should make sure that I got all the information and knowledge about all the ‘elite’ protocols; information that never was told to me.
In this case, I was without legal support from any ferederation or government; and to go agains the positive I should take all expenses on myself. These expenses are above my resources, as I’m a person from Ecuador against an international French agency.
With all these I want to point out that legal resources that have judged and sentenced me are not enough, as they lack of the ‘bases’ to coordinate events, regulators and rules to apply to non-professional athletes. We amateurs take the expenses on ourselves without no federation. So, I can’t use my right to defend myself, rigth that every juridic rule on the world has and I cannot use. To end In my country, we the ecuator runners must ask our Ecuator Running Federation to register trailrunning as a sport, to grant licenses to high-level runners who want to take part on international events and support and avail the main running events in Ecuador. Also, the Ecuatorian federation should take care also of the andti-doping tasks and generate a runners ranking at an international level, we must estabish compatible parameters between international event organizers and the federations; improve the information and make sure that the athletes know the category where they are going to run, and to make sure that they know the anti-pogind rules applicable.
I’m with the anti-doping. I like clean game and I have never intentionally used anything to artificially improve my performance. But we must be coherent with runner’s real life, specially on countries where these sports have no international rules, and work to create a clear and safe platform to run high performance sports on.
I wonder, are the anti-doping tests really fit? do they take into account genetic trace of the runners (feeding, origin, training) before publishing results?
Is it OK to judge a non-professional runner, which does not make a living with trailrunning the same way we do with a professional?
Is it OK to run anti-doping tests without the legal coverage for non-licensed runners which will have difficults to claim their rights?
I’m probably the first case on this. I’m not a professional. I don’t have a license. I live and train between 3000 and 5000 masl. I have dense blood. I got a top-5 on an international running event with professional runners from all Europe which clearly know the rules. I came to the UTMB controls without the complete knowledge of high competition protocols. I have no license and no legal support fom a federation and I consider that methods used on me are not equity, transparent and impartial. There are other sports -such as the IronMan series- where they take into account the runner condition (amateur or professional) to skip these kind of polemic situation due to the lack of legal support and information on the professional protocols.
Why my case was reported by the IAAD and the UTMB organization had no idea on what was going on?
Why the rules from IAAF, AFLD and UTMB are not compatible with the positive anti-doping test from an amateur runner?
Under which authority IAAF punished me for 2 years?
I’m not a federated runner. Why the UTMB does not have a professional runner list?
Why UTMB is not registered with the IAAF avail?
Why they let me run without a federative license in a category where they are going to do controls which need this license?
I want my case to clarify and modify the trailrunning world rules.