PINKHAM, NOTCH, NH – Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race Officials have announced that they will institute testing for performance-enhancing drug use, beginning with this year’s race.
The men’s and women’s overall winners, along with other randomly chosen individuals, will be tested immediately following their completion of the all-uphill 7.6-mile footrace on Saturday, June 16.
Howie Wemyss, general manager of the Mt. Washington Auto Road said” We’re taking this step because unfortunately illegal performance-enhancing drug use is creeping into the mountain running scene as it has in other professional endurance sports,” He continued saying ““With this change we intend to maintain and enhance the credibility of winners’ performances and the validity of course records.”
The race organizers will follow standards for testing that are provided by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Officials said that on Mt. Washington, testing will be of urine samples obtained while the athletes to be tested are still at the summit, as soon as possible following the finish. In keeping with WADA practice, they will be chaperoned until their samples are ready to be given.
Paul Kirsch, elite athletes’ liaison for the race, offered this observation about the new policy: “Clean sport is important to keep a level playing field in MUT (Mountain/Ultra/Trail) racing events. I am very glad that the Mt. Washington Race is taking the issue seriously and beginning to drug-test.”
Initial reaction from elite mountain runners familiar with the Mt. Washington race has been similarly positive. “That’s such a great step in the right direction,” said Joe Gray of Colorado Springs, Colo. Gray, who has undergone such testing in races elsewhere, has won the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race in each of the last four years and also won the 2016 World Mountain Championship. “Hopefully more races will follow Mt. Washington’s lead!”
Kasie Enman of Huntington, Vermont, the 2011 women’s world mountain running champion, added, “There is a perception out there about some MUT races that testing isn’t as stringent, that the door is a little bit open for cheating athletes who want to sneak under the radar. It’s important that we remove that perception and ensure a fair race for all the clean athletes in our sport. Thanks to Mt. Washington Road Race for taking this important step. I’ll be proud to toe the starting line there this June.”
Now in its 58th year, the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race on June 16 will have racers ascend the Mt. Washington Auto Road from Pinkham Notch, N.H., to the summit of Mt. Washington. For More information about the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race Anti-Doping policy go to https://www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com/mount-washington-road-race/for-racers/race-course-details