Reader Survey: Drugs and Ultras

The debate has been reignited again with the publishing of an article on irunfar by Ian Torrence, who very intelligently explores the use and clarification of drugs in ultra running. While I think we are far from the depths of some sports, it’s clearly a worthy debate to be had.

To that end, we’d like to run our own survey of attitudes to drug use in ultra running (scroll to the bottom to see the survey now).

Before we kick off, I think it’s really important to note the huge majority of us respect our fellow competitors and our own bodies too – drugs just simply aren’t an issue for us. But I think what also exists is a fair amount of ignorance on the topic. The rules are long and complicated with some substances banned in competition, but not out of competition.

One of the things that came out of Ian’s article was that further questions needed to be asked about drug use in our sport. Ian made a great start asking about PED use generally, but having commented on the article in question, it gave me an idea…

It’s a controversial one, but we would like to see if we could further extend Ian’s work and go a little deeper into drug use through our own survey. We’d like to build on what Ian has started and see if we can get some further depth and detail as to how prevalent (or not), drug use is in our sport.

An important point to make is that there are no hidden agendas here from myself or Ultra168. I’m doing this purely because the topic interests me greatly and because I’d like to understand in more detail where we sit. All information collect is strictly anonymous (bar the region you are from) and is not going to be used for any commercial gain whatsoever. All data will be made freely available to anyone who wishes to consume it.

We’re also only asking nine questions. But having consulted with a few people close to the topic, we want to strike a balance between making sure people can answer this survey in two minutes, but to also get some greater clarity on where we sit right now too with drugs in our sport.

Important to note is that this survey is only looking for ‘Yes / No’ answers – not opinion. Around the world, certain drugs such as marijuana are illegal or legal depending on where you are, so for this survey please ignore the criminal status of them, as well as your own personal opinion as to whether they should be made legal or not. We’d love to get as many responses as possible to make this as statistically viable as we can. So if you feel inclined, please do share this to your friends.

We’ll keep the survey open for as long as we need to and then write-up an analysis of the results once we feel confident there are good enough numbers to do so. You’ll see it embedded below in this post, just scroll through the questions.

We’d love to get as many responses as possible to make this as statistically viable as we can. So if you feel inclined, please do share this to your ultra running friends.

The survey is 100% ANNONYMOUS – No data collection at all. 

Thank-you ever so much for your time and consideration.

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I'm a mediocre runner who can bat above his average when I train hard. A man of extremes, I do enjoy everything life offers and consider it an absolute pleasure just to be able to put one foot in front of the other and let my mind wander somewhere different.

3 thoughts on “Reader Survey: Drugs and Ultras

  1. So many of the drugs on the banned list would be taken by athletes without really getting any benefit or knowing they were banned, I think a large block screening of athletes at any given Ultra would produce a lot of positives. I am talking about, painkillers, pseudo ephedrine and even ventolin (in high amounts). If you are a Pro, sure you need to be careful and not trip over a Codral but for most of us that’s irrelevant. Taking Duromine to drop weight pre-race or keep you awake through the night, that is another thing all together and I’m sure it and other stimulants are used. Pro cycling is always touted as the dirty sport but they are tested so much and even banned for missing tests, you take a coral and its 2 years holiday from the peloton. I would not sit all comfy and smug thinking Ultra running is ‘clean’ if you applied the same testing to it as real pro sports. I doubt there is enough money in it for people to use proper doping methods anyway…..

  2. I would think a question on how active / what sort of level the survey taker is would be beneficial. Someone who runs one ultra a year vs one who runs a few per month would be quite different.

    1. Thanks for the input – Indeed, I’d have loved to ask 2-3 times the number of questions we have, but we also have to strike a balance between keeping people interested and getting a good depth of numbers. There’s plenty of scope for further surveys I’m sure! Appreciate the input however and thoughts! Cheers.

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