Monday, February 21, 2011

Just how many age groupers are doping for the weekend?

The Tribune reports

Frank Shorter bit his tongue for 20 years after the 1976 Olympic marathon, when he suspected the only man who could beat him was doping.

Shorter later did accuse Waldemar Cierpinski of East Germany of cheating and called for his medal to be stripped after details about the East German doping efforts came to light when the Berlin Wall came down. But now he’s a happy guy and a perfect fit for the guy who not only sparked the running craze after his gold-medal win in the 1972 Olympic marathon but continues to be an ambassador for it partly because he believes he found a better way to express his frustration.

In 2000, he co-founded the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, an organization that carries out the world anti-doping code in the U.S. The world code lists which behaviors and drugs are prohibited in sports. Of course, having that background comes with the hard knowledge that doping is still out there, and not only is it still among the professionals, it’s reached the amateurs, as well.

Affectionately called “age-groupers,” amateurs make up the vast majority of endurance events, which include running races such as marathons and the Bolder Boulder, triathlons such as those run by the Ironman brand and cycling. The age-groupers, in fact, are the main reason why those events even exist, as they would surely fail without the amateurs’ interest, support and money.