You may have noticed but sport in general is going through a tough time. Athletics is in a mess, the Russians are out, questions over Salazar, Seb Coe backtracking and in and amongst all this a series of positive tests in Basketball, Tennis, Football and so on…

Trail running has to all intents and purposes been isolated, in a bubble you may say. That bubble was burst though late in 2015 when Italian runner, Elisa Desco turned up in the USA to run in San Francisco. iRunFar commented in a pre-race article that Desco had previously tested positive for EPO and had served a 2-year ban.


The internet exploded, Facebook and Twitter ignited into a series of debates and posts that said, ‘convicted’ dopers were not welcome in the sport of trail, mountain and ultra running. Notice I did not add Skyrunning here! The reason being that Desco had raced repeatedly in the Skyrunner World Series in 2015 and previous years post her ban. She had gained success with many wins and on occasion these victories (not always) had been confirmed clear with post race drug testing.

Now of course I could dwell on the rights and wrongs of the reaction in the USA to Desco’s participation but I won’t. I commented at the time on my thoughts and if you so desire, you can read them HERE.

A flurry of responses in the USA saw many runners become vocal about #cleansport and let’s be clear here, I am 100% for clean sport. Ian Sharman was very proactive and a website was created where athletes could sign up and declare that they would run clean. It was a start and I am sure the momentum will fuel onward debate and proactive actions that ensure a ‘clean’ sport for all those who participate in trail, mountain, ultra and Skyrunning races.

Cut to March 2016 and Maria Sharapova stands at a press conference and declares to the world that she has tested positive for a drug called Meldonium.

Shock, horror; what a bombshell! one of THE most successful sports stars in the world is found guilty of doping!