Many people who just see Ironman as a thing on the “bucket list” might not care about if the sport if clean or not and will perhaps never reflect on the fact that testing athletes is very unusual (except among the professionals) but for those of us who have been in the sport for a long time and are “somewhat more passionate” it is really embarrassing and frustrating that events that are called “World Championships” don’t even have mandatory testing for the age group winners.
I have written blogs before about my own experience and disappointmentwith doping in the past and there are many articles about people getting caught one way or another. The fact is that there is a real issue here but it seams that Ironman Cooperation (WTC) are not really interested in taking the problem seriously. It’s easier to cater for the transient participator who just want a finisher medal and sell Ironman labeled stuff rather than deal with the issue.
One of the long term ambassadors and protectors of the sport – and a legend to many of us – is Belgian Triathlete Rodolphe von Berg. I first met Rodolphe in Hawaii in 1996 and he was already then a legend that had been racing almost since the beginning of the sport in 1978. He usually win his age group then as now and has since then also brought up a family of successful triathlete, his son a top ranked professional and daughter a successful age grouper.
Yesterday Rodolphe won his age group (again) at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in South Africa, now 60-65 and given our common interest in getting this sport clean I asked him if there was any drug testing of the age groupers – and of course – there was no testing.
Rodolphe has started a great initiative to fight this situation which is a Petition for AgeGroupers who wants Ironman to clean up the sport andAT LEASTtest age group winners at world championship events. Please follow the link and sign the Petition – it only takes 30seconds and you don’t have to donate any money if you don’t want to – what is important is that we can show WTC that we want a clean sport and more serious activities than some silly poster to sign at registration.