Sunday, August 31, 2008

Top UTMB runners drop like flies after anti-doping

Ultra Trail Mont Blanc (UTMB) introduced strict anti-doping control measures this year. Blood, urine and even hair samples were tested from many top runners.

Topher Gaylord blogs, "...20 top runners were chosen to be tested... Scott Jurek and Nikki Kimball were also tested...".

Gaylord turned out to be the best American runner this year, finishing 11th in 24 hours 55 minutes. Jurek dropped out in Champex, after running 123K in 15:48. He was third when he decided to stop racing. 

Surprisingly many UTMB 2007 top runners chose to drop out during the race. The weather was fine, but I'm sure they all have another excuse.

  • Marco Olmo (1st UTMB 2007): dropped out at 149K (20h 58 mins).
  • Jens Lukas (2nd UTMB 2007): dropped out at 108K (15:29).
  • Nicolas Mermoud (3rd UTMB 2007): dropped out at 39K (4:03).
  • Samuel Bonaudo (4th UTMB 2007): dropped out at 108K (15:55).
  • Christophe Jaquerod (6th UTMB 2007): dropped out at 50K (6:15).
  • Nicolas Darmaillacq (10th UTMB 2007): dropped out at 108K (16:13).
  • Nikki Kimball (1st UTMB 2007): dropped out at 77K (11:37).
  • Magali Juvenal (4th UTMB 2007): dropped out at 159K (34:23).
  • Virginia Olivari (5th UTMB 2007): dropped out at 94K (17:13).
Also Kami Semick and Diane Van Deren DNF'd.  


Anonymous said...

there's a laim asshole on that blog who should know better before wrtitting insulting bullshit. The very strict anti doping tests were conducted at utmb BEFORE the start !!!!!!!

Paleo Runner said...

Hey chill dude, we all know now that the doping tests were conducted before the start. But the competitors did not know that when they applied for the race in January. They also did not know that the doping control is going to be way stricter than in earlier UTMBs or other races.

The fact is that surprisingly many of the top runners dropped out during the race. For any doped athletes, the race organisers and also the sponsors it would make sense to do so, because then there would be no need to publish or even analyze the test results. What a clever way to gently push the cheaters out of the race, without seriously harming anyone involved - good thinking, UTMB!

Anonymous said...

Wrong again, the results of the analyses came later from the agency AFT. So really no connection, you can trust me. 20 guys came this year to win that race, all pushed hard from the start, some got injured (mermoud, olmo, jurek), other had a bad day (delebarre, ...) and finally most of these quiters pushed it to the point were they were to exhausted to keep moving, and to reach their goal (bonaudo, lukas, jaquerod...). YOu come to finish, you try as long as you feel you have a chance... Same for those who come to achieve a podium !!!

Paleo Runner said...

Ok, let's assume for a moment that you are right and I am wrong.

Now how else could this extraordinary jump in elite drop-out rate be explained? What I'd like to know is why 5 out of top 6 male and 3 out of top 6 female runners decided that they don't want to finish this race?

I agree this race is never an easy task, but surely most of these top guns would be able to finish any race if they really wanted to?

One of them dropped out at 159 km, it would have only required an easy walk down the hill to the finish. That seems a bit strange.

I'm sure they all have their individual excuses, but so far I haven't heard of any alternative general theories for this weird behaviour.

Anonymous said...

same in 2007, or 2006. these guys come to be on the podium.....not to finish !!! utmb is a lifetime achievement for thousands of people, it's one important date, but no more for the top guns. Take the exemple of jurek, he was injured (patella), so he stopped to recover for spartathlon. Mermoud had a small tendinitous, stopped....and could win a smaller ultra one week later. Olmo stopped when his hopes to be on the podium again vanished. You're talking about the favorites who quit but let's have a look at the ones who finished jornet, chorier, sherpa, csaba, hawker, herry, guillon...
dude, this race destroys the mind and the body, so why put your season at risk when hoe to do well is gone !! It takes 24 hours, not 24mn like a 10000m.
every year you will see huge drop out from top guns, especially if they have completed the course in former editions.

Paleo Runner said...

Sorry, I still don't buy it.

In 2007, two of those UTMB runners who had placed in overall top 6 the year before dropped out. Wow, that's a third. In 2008, 5 of top 6 in previous year's UTMB dropped out - that's a whopping 83%!

Or let's look at overall top 10: in 2007 there were 3 quitters, in 2008 there were 6 quitters. What caused this number to double this year?

You are certainly right in saying that most elite runners lost their interest in finishing this year, but what is the reason for it? What made them suddenly become disinterested in this important late-season race? In what way would they have risked their future races if they finished out of top 3? Why Jurek, who seemed to be having his best UTMB ever, pulled out when he was third?

Think before answering.