NEWS UPDATE – IAAF response and UTMB® response re EPO

Many questions have been asked about my initial post (HERE) re the positive EPO case with Gonzalo Calisto at the 2015 UTMB®.

Gladly, UTMB® responded very quickly and issued a disqualification and removal of Gonzalo Calisto from the 2015 UTMB® ranking. It is clearly explained in the press release HERE

Last night I posted a response from Michel Poletti (HERE) when I asked some specific questions. The response from Michel Poletti did make me ask additional questions and today I received a response and clarification from Catherine Poletti.

1. Why are you not informed of a positive test?
Only the “testing authority” responsible for the legal treatment of the results are able to communicate about a period of suspension; the organiser, no more than any other structure, doesn’t have to be informed directly about a positive control during their event.

2. Which authority took the test and on who’s authority?

Once again, the organiser does not have access to this information. The “testing authority”  (= the structure which asks the organisation for the control and thus which is in charge of the legal treatment of the results) is mentioned in the mission order. This information is therefore only known by the doctor taking the sample, and by the athlete himself. In this precise case the ‘testing authority” maybe the country’s National Anti-Doping Agency(AFLD for France), an international federation, the Anti-doping World Agency, or another National Anti-doping Organisation (NADO).

3. Who does Gonzalo Calisto approach to review the test?

Again, it is the classic procedure for an anti-doping test. The laboratory responsible for the analysis of the samples is unknown by the Organiser.

4. Under who’s authority is Gonzalo Calisto suspended from racing?

Under the authority of the IAAF. The jurisprudence says that an athlete suspended by an international federation cannot participate in any other event under the aegis of another international federation. For exemple, Armstrong who was suspended by the ICU was unable to participate in the Ironman circuit which is none the less a private circuit.

Obviously this does raise some questions and it goes back to my post this morning when the IAAF replied to my questions HERE. I say it again, It’s time to lobby for a change and YOU as runners, followers of the sport or whatever capacity you have as a fan need to ensure that we all act now and make sure that the following happens:

  1. Positive tests are confirmed to the athlete asap
  2. Due process is allowed for a B sample
  3. The race, race director and management team are notified immediately
  4. A press release is issued by the race and or organisation
  5. IAAF, WADA, AFLD and so on list and make results public asap

I did also ask the question as to why Gonzalo Calisto is only banned till March 2017 as shown here:


Apparently, the IAAF have confirmed that this is a mistake. “It appears that this is a typo as it was transcribed from the official memo…. The correct start date is March 2016 (with end date in March 2018).  The athlete will have also had any results from the day of the test through to March disqualified as well.”

The IAAF have also confirmed some of the issues as to why the UTMB® was not notified of the positive test: “The main issue seems to have been the non-notification of the event organiser at which the test occurred.  We will follow up with AFLD on that matter.”

Finally, many have asked why it has taken so long (August 2015 – March 2016) for Calisto to be banned and confirmed for EPO doping?

As much as we would like quick results and management processes, unfortunately this is not always the case.  This is especially so when dealing with athletes from countries (in this scenario Ecuador) the relevant authorities may have very limited experience in dealing with the results management for a case such as this. Doping related cases are quite often lengthier than the general public would expect as athletes choose to exercise their rights to various hearings and appeal options.  While this may seem protracted, athletes do and should have their rights protected to ensure this process is fair and subject to appeal.

At this stage it would be good to hear from Gonzalo Calisto and find out his version of events and his thoughts in regard to the positive test and if he feels the process has been correct.

The Coastal Challenge – Day 5


Not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but 3-4 hours broken sleep seems to be no problem here in Costa Rica. The catering team were crashing pans and chatting at 0200 as they prepared our 0400 breakfast. No animal sounds or crashing waves to break the slumber, today it was the pitter-patter of rain. Not large quantities, it was splash, splash, splash, splash; big drops of rain. When I opened my tent a mist covered the camp providing an eerie feeling to glow of headlamps.

TCC stg 5


Today’s stage required a short bus transfer and then a ferry to the race start. We transferred, waved the runners off and then had the use of a speedboat to make our way to CP2. No roads to this location…. I have to say the boat trip was a real treat. We saw the sunrise and wildlife emerge for a new day. The driver showed off a little by opening the throttle and weaving from right to left. At our stop point we transferred to the grounds of a private house and set up. I ran into the trail heading toward CP1 to pick my spot and await the front-runners.




At 0600 the runners departed. Dave James had had rough night with broken sleep and was feeling a little under the weather. Would this provide an opportunity for Ismael?


Todays course had less elevation but some of the most beautiful scenery. Dense rainforest with muddy/clay trails, single track that widened to double track and fire trail. Farming fields with long grass and lush vegetation. Water-crossings of varied in size and length. Just before the finish, a small section of road and a few hundred meters of idyllic beach. It had everything.


Running a little behind predicted time, Dave arrived with Ismael just behind. This was about 1km before CP2 and just over 2 hours into the race.


“Looking good Dave” I shouted… no response! Mmm he’s not having a good day I thought to myself. Despite what internal dilemmas he may be having he moved from left to right foot with ease. As Ismael passed, he waved with a big smile. He was obviously enjoying the day and course.


Next to arrive was Jose Lopez who is currently placed 3rd overall. He was certainly finding the tough and slippery clay trail less to his liking than James and Dris. I ran into CP2 with him and then left ahead to capture additional images.


The sun was rising high now and provided greater light as it broke through the patches in the dense canopy above. A small descent with slippery clay provided an opportunity to get an image of Henry Monestel. I then decided to run with him through to the next CP some 10km away.


The canopy provided some great shade but when you moved out into the open sections, the sun hit and it hit hard. The difference between the two must have been 20 degrees! The logical thing is to run the shade and jog/ powerwalk the sun sections. It worked well. Every now and again I went ahead, captured an image and then ran with Henry again. The many streams provided an opportunity to completely submerge us and reduce our core temperature or take of a hat and soak it, so important when the heat and humidity is so high.


CP3 arrived and no other runners were in sight. I decided to push on keeping Henry for company. Up trail and down trail, Palm trees everywhere. The diversity and difference in the vegetation is incredible. In no time CP4 arrived and I waited a little while in the hope I would see some other runners.


Rodrigo Curazo, RD for the race told confirmed that Dave was struggling. He had arrived at the CP just behind Ismael but they had left together. Lopez currently in 3rd was also struggling. Ultimately the overall positions in the race wouldn’t change but certainly the fight for overall 3rd place was on.


A steep climb straight out of the CP and then the trail dropped to a small village, a right turn and then a water crossing. It was the final section of the race now and a short stretch of road provided access to an awesome stretch of beach and the finish of stage 5.


Dave and Ismael ran the beach together with Ismael taking the stage win by 1 second. Lopez held on to 3rd place despite his issues.


For the ladies, Gemma Slaughter did exactly what she said she would do and attacked! Behind Hale and Meyer worked together to hopefully pull back some time but it was all to no avail. Gemma ran onto the beach beaming safe in the knowledge that had she not only won the stage but also confirmed that her consistency will almost certainly secure her the overall win now. By the time Hale & Meyer crossed the line (together) they were another 35 minutes behind giving Slaughter a 1-hour margin.


The setting for today’s stage was a remarkable testament not only to the diversity and beauty that Costa Rica offers but also a testament to Rodrigo and his team who provided access to trails that nobody runs on. The final setting at Drakes Beach is a picture postcard setting and our campsite is little more than 100m from the waters edge.


Days running and relaxing afterwards don’t get much better than what The Coastal Challenge have offered today. Apparently, tomorrow’s stage, a circular loop back to our campsite is also ‘special’. I can’t wait. We also get another night at this incredible campsite.

Pura Vida!

Tomorrows stage is the final of the race and a loop circuit back to our day 5 campsite.

TCC stg 6

 A full set of images from day 5 can be viewed HERE

Results for stage

  1. I Dris 11:11
  2. D James 11:12
  3. J Lopez 12:17
  1. G Slaughter 12:57
  2. I Hale 1:32
  3. A Meyer 1:32

Testing the Hayasa

The North Face Single Track Hayasa

I have been testing the The North Face Single Track Hayasa on a varied terrain for a couple of weeks now. My initial review of the shoe can be read HERE

First thing you will notice is that my initial shoes were blue! No, no miracle. I made a comment in my review that I had gone a half size larger. My normal size is UK9.5 and I had taken a UK10. I did express a concern that I thought the additional half size may very well be too much. I was correct.

My first test in the shoes, a hilly 6 miler had my foot moving just a little too much within the shoe. Nothing terrible, nothing uncomfortable but it just didn’t feel quite right.

So, I am now in a UK9.5 and they feel ‘sweet’. Actually like the black and yellow too!

The Hayasa has a 10mm drop but is low to the ground and as such it still promotes a very mid to forefoot run technique. The lacing I love. It would appear the laces have an element of ‘elastic’ within them so not only can you pull the shoe tight on your foot but once tied the laces don’t come loose. A real bonus. However, the laces are way too long… not a problem, I cut mine down and then just melted the ends with a match so they wouldn’t fray. The shoe is ‘very’ breathable and actually on some of the recent really icy days, on occasion they felt a little cold (perfect for hot weather then). The toe box is roomy and the upper is light and holds the foot secure.

Still early days but I have now done seven runs in them, two on the road (one 6 mile and one 10 mile) two trail runs (both 8 miles) and two snow/ice runs with YakTrax attached (7 miles and 10 miles).

I am really enjoying the Hayasa. You are close to the ground so you can really feel a connection with the surface and this promotes good technique. On the road they feel light, responsive and although the grip is more than a conventional road shoe I haven’t felt any negative effects. On trail, again the connection with the ground and the feel is superb, however, when the ground gets muddy the grip fails. It certainly is a shoe for a more compact, harder or dry trail. The surprise has been on the snow and ice. Admittedly I have YakTrax attached so that negates the sole but what I have loved is the connection with the ground from such a light shoe. You really notice the benefits when running through soft snow or hard icy trail… the Hayasa provides immediate feedback allowing you to adapt to the terrain accordingly. The Snake Plate I am sure is really adding to this.

Cushioning is good for such a lightweight shoe. Considerably more testing and runs to be done but at this early stage it’s a big thumbs up.

Snake Plate™The patent-pending Snake Plate™ consists of a forefoot plate that winds back and forth between the medial and lateral sides of the foot. Because it is not one solid element, it is not as uncompromisingly rigid from side to side and front to back. The result is a forefoot plate that allows the foot to do what it is physiologically designed to do: flex, bend, and contort to changing terrain. At the same time, the Snake Plate™ delivers rigidity where and when it is still needed. The thickness, composition and size of the Snake Plate™ vary from style to style as appropriate. For example, a thicker, more rigid Snake Plate™ addresses the technical, ever-changing demands of a mountain run. A thinner, more flexible Snake Plate™ reconciles flexibility with a decreased demand for protection while on smoother dirt paths.

Check out the The North Face HERE