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Anti-Doping Education

Tussey Mountainback Ultramarathon Anti-Doping Policy

At the Tussey Mountainback, we are committed to promoting a fair and competitive environment. Upholding the integrity of our sport and ensuring the health and safety of our athletes is of utmost importance. To this end, we have implemented a stringent anti-doping policy in alignment with the latest guidelines from USA Track & Field (USATF).


Our Commitment to Clean Sport:

  • Strict Adherence to USATF Guidelines: We strictly follow the anti-doping policies set forth by USATF. These guidelines are designed to prevent the use of performance-enhancing drugs and ensure a level playing field for all competitors.

  • Educational Resources: To best educate our runners, we provide the latest USATF anti-doping policies and educational materials. This ensures that all participants are fully aware of the rules and the importance of clean sport.

  • Random Testing: USATF may conduct random drug testing during the event. Participants selected for testing must comply with the procedures to verify adherence to anti-doping regulations.

  • Zero Tolerance: We have a zero-tolerance policy for doping. Any athlete found in violation of anti-doping regulations will face disqualification and potential bans from future events.

  • #CleanSport Commitment: We proudly support the #CleanSport initiative, advocating for transparency, fairness, and integrity in ultrarunning. We encourage all athletes to join us in this commitment and compete cleanly and honorably.


By enforcing these anti-doping measures, we aim to foster a culture of fair play and respect for the sport. The health, safety, and integrity of our athletes are our top priorities, and we are dedicated to maintaining the highest standards in our events. Thank you for your cooperation and commitment to clean sport.


Below you will find the text provided by USATF MUT and their policies and education material.


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Editor's Note

This article is the first in a five-part series about how the mountain, ultra and trail (MUT) running community has been affected by athlete doping and drug testing. This timely topic was researched by professional trail runner Tayte Pollmann (pictured above at the 2018 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in Poland) and includes his personal experience as well as input from other top athletes and authorities in the anti-doping industry.

Part 1 – Clean Sport and Mountain, Ultra & Trail (MUT) Running
Part 2 – WADA / USADA, the anti-doping gold standard
Part 3 – Lower cost, custom testing services & race director experiences
Part 4 – Out-of-competition testing & US athlete experiences
Part 5 – Non-WADA compliant athlete testing programs

When thinking about drug infractions in running events, track and field may be the best known culprit. One reason may be that more athletes are tested in at these events so more track and field athletes are caught and punished.

In mountain, ultra and trail running, drug testing is a more recent inclusion in worldwide programs, but is not conducted on the scale found in Olympic disciplines like track and field and long distance road running. Thus, not everyone in our sport understands the nuts and bolts of athlete testing, nor where to find a list of banned substances.


In this five-part series, I, along with my colleagues at ATRA, hope our audience becomes better educated about the components of an effective drug testing program and learns from athlete experiences described herein. Whether you’re a new runner, elite runner, new race director or a seasoned race director, we also hope this series of articles provide useful information and raises awareness about the importance of increasing the number of anti-doping tests in our sport.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was created in 1999 in response to the growing doping problem in professional road cycling. Since then, WADA has become the world’s leading force in anti-doping efforts and is funded by governments and sports organizations across the globe. Its primary activities include “scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities, and monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) – the document harmonizing anti-doping policies in all sports and all countries.”

WADA’s “Code” includes the list of all banned substances WADA tests for, which includes many performance enhancing drugs such as EPO and steroids. The Olympics and all International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) events, including mountain, ultra and trail running world championships, adhere to the Code.

WADA testing is recognized as the highest standard of drug testing in the world because of its thorough sample collection, quality labs, and certified doping control officers. It also contributes to scientific research on doping, Code compliance monitoring, athlete outreach, education, and cooperation with law enforcement. WADA’s extensive legal teams and affiliations with government sponsored testing agencies worldwide make it possible for WADA to enforce athlete bans and to provide an appeal process.


Athlete Selection:

WADA can select athletes for in-competition and out-of-competition testing. An athlete is selected for testing by one of three ways: random selection, by finishing position, or “by being selected for a particular reason.”


Athlete Notification:

For both in-competition and out-of-competition testing, the notification step is the same. A certified doping control officer (DCO) must first show their DCO accreditation to the athlete. The athlete’s rights and responsibilities in the doping control process are then explained by the officer and the athlete will be asked to sign a form. After the notification, the athlete must report immediately to the doping control station. There may be valid reasons to ask for a delay, such as attending a medal ceremony, press conference, or medical treatment. A chaperone escorts the athlete from the notification to the doping control station.


Sample Collection:

Firstly, the DCO officers will ask for a valid ID to confirm the athlete’s identity. The athlete will then be requested to provide one of more urine or blood samples. A DCO will stay with the athlete and witness the passing of the sample. The only exception is with minor athletes (under the age of 18), where the DCO will accompany the athlete to the washroom but will not witness the passing of the sample. The athlete will then be asked to divide the sample into A and B bottles and seal them. Throughout the process, the athlete will be the only one to handle the samples, unless the athlete requires assistance. The athlete will then be asked to sign the doping control form. The form and samples are sent to a WADA accredited laboratory. Athletes have the right to have a representative present with them at the sample collection.


Sample Analysis:

Once the samples arrive at the accredited laboratory, the A-sample will be analyzed. The B-Sample is stored away in case of an inverse result of the first and will be used to confirm the result.


Results Management and Adjudication:

The signatories of WADA, the International Sports Federations (IFs) and National Anti-Doping Agencies (NADOs), are the organizations directly involved with the results management and issuing of athlete sanctions and bans. WADA will receive a copy of inverse findings and monitor the IFs or NADO to ensure proper implementation of athletes’ sanctions and accordance to the Code. The respective IFs and NADOs are given some flexibility to decide their sanctions.


The United States Anti-Doping Agency, the NADO for the United States, outlines 4-year and 2-year athlete sanctions specified in the USADA Protocol, Article 10.2. There are guidelines for lifetime bans and for how to increase or decrease the sanctions. USADA also outlines ways protections for athletes, such a with the “No Fault or Negligence” clause, found in Article 10.4. This clause gives athletes to have their ineligibility eliminated in cases where “he or she bears no fault or negligence”, for example, if the athlete could prove there was sabotage by a competitor.

Learn even more about WADA’s role in Results Management.


United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)

The United States Anti-Doping Agency is a National Anti Doping Organization (NADO) which oversees performance enhancing drug-testing in US competitions and of US athletes. USADA is a signatory of WADA’s Code, which means they adhere the same standards of WADA testing and help establish WADA’s universalize doping protocol. USADA tests, therefore, have the highest standard of testing. USADA typically conducts tests at many track & field, race walking and road running events, but starting last year for the first time USADA conducted tests at USA Track & Field’s MUT national championships. The fees for this testing were covered by USA Track & Field which will fund even more unannounced tests at upcoming MUT national championships.

In addition to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) administered athlete testing programs, athletes and race directors may encounter other testing organizations or health screening programs. These organizations often provide their services at lower costs than WADA complaint tests, which can make them attractive options for smaller races looking for a custom anti-doping program.

Race directors should also be aware of the limitations of these testing alternatives. Cheaper alternatives are often not testing for all substances on WADA’s prohibited list and/or they do not contain the same notification, privacy or adjudication processes included in WADA compliant tests. In short, a cheaper anti-doping program is a less comprehensive program.

Some alternatives like ITRA’s Quartz health policy appears to be anti-doping program but is not connected to WADA or National Athletic Federation (NAF) anti-doping efforts. Knowing the differences between the various testing and screening organizations will help race directors and athletes understand which organizations are best for their needs and budget. Listed below are several drug testing organizations and health screening programs athletes may encounter at mountain, ultra and trail races.



International Doping Tests & Management AB IDTM is a leading global provider of anti-doping services and a quality assurer for both Olympic and non-Olympic sports. With a global network of Doping Control Officers and Blood Collection Officers, IDTM has been providing anti-doping services for International Federations, National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs), and independent sporting organizations and events since 1992.


Drug Free Sport

Drug Free Sport is a global leader in the development and administration of technology-focused, customized anti-doping testing and education programming for professional, emerging and amateur sport organizations. Drug Free Sport has been helping athletes maximize their innate potential in sport since 1999. Drug Free Sport has previously conducted anti-doping tests at ATRA member Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run.


Any Lab Test Now USA

Any Lab Test Now is a national testing service with over 170 locations across the country. Their mission is to provide affordable testing to families or companies who require work-related drug testing, such as for the testing of airplane pilots and train drivers. They partner with “major, high-quality labs throughout the country” and are SAMHSA certified, which means their labs are held to the highest standard in the country. The 2018 Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent used Any Lab Test Now to test athletes for select (but not all) performance enhancing drugs found on WADA’s list of banned substances.



Clearidium an independent anti-doping organization based in Copenhagen, Denmark with North American headquarters in Colorado Springs, USA. Clearidium has collected over 10,000 athlete samples in a wide variety of sports. To conduct their testing, they hire professionals, such as “Phlebotomists, Nurses and Doping Control Officers.” Clearidium was hired by the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run to test athletes in 2017.


Health Screening Programs

What sets these programs apart from those mentioned above, is that they do not conduct WADA-certified anti-doping tests and have no connection to national athletics federations (NAFs).


ITRA Quartz

The International Trail Running Association created the Quartz program to “protect runners’ health and contribute to doping-free sport.” The program conducts health tests at hundreds of events worldwide and also offers testing for a fee to both recreational and elite athletes. Athletes whose testing result is considered abnormal will receive an announcement from Quartz of the “No Start Rule” and not be permitted to race. There is no appeal process for athletes given this “no start” designation.

The Quartz program has recently partnered with several brands, including Hoka One One and Salomon, and its tests are currently conducted at each of Salomon’s popular Golden Trail Series events. Quartz does not specifically test for performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), but an abnormal result from Quartz testing could indicate PED use. Learn more about Quartz’s biological test results HERE.


Although an athlete with an abnormal test result from Quartz may receive the penalty of the “No Start Rule,” Quartz does not have the legal authority to ban the athlete from competitions not affiliated with the Quartz program. An athlete who receives the penalty of the “No Start Rule” may still compete in national or world championship events because Quartz does not hold the legal authority to administer such bans. The one exception to this is at the Trail World Championships which is organized in cooperation with the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) who operate under the patronage of the IAAF.


Currently, WADA and its compliant National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) are the only organization with the legal authority to administer athlete bans or other sentences. Quartz testing is not affiliated with WADA and its member NADOs. Any test conducted by Quartz receiving a positive result for a substance on WADA’s prohibited list are not reported to the NADO in the host county of the race. Nor are the results sent to WADA.

Race directors choosing to use non-WADA compliant testing organizations will avoid the higher costs of WADA administered tests, but will lose WADA’s legal authority. WADA can ensure fair legal consequences for athletes, including internationally recognized bans and appeal process.

Non-WADA compliant testing does not have this same legal authority. Race directors using non-WADA compliant tests cannot report findings of an athlete’s positive test to their national doping organization nor WADA because the testing provider was not WADA compliant. Race directors using non-WADA compliant testing have only the authority to ban athletes from their own events for testing positive.

In addition to in-competition doping controls discussed in the previous articles of this series, select MUT athletes may also be subject to out-of-competition doping controls. Out-of-competition testing requires a limited number of top level athletes to report their location to the International Sport Federation (IF) or National Anti-Doping Agency (NADO). These athletes are registered in a testing pool and may subject to unannounced doping controls. An athlete may be tested at any time or place, including their home or work. Rules for the procedure of an athlete reporting whereabouts for testing are detailed in the International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI).

The World Anti-Doping Agency states about the importance of out-of-competition testing, “Because out-of-competition doping controls can be conducted without notice to athletes, they are one of the most powerful means of deterrence and detection of doping and are an important step in strengthening athlete and public confidence in doping-free sport.”

 Part 5 – Non-WADA compliant athlete testing programs

As I wrote in part three of this clean sport series of articles, several less expensive and non-WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) compliant testing services and health screening programs exist in mountain, ultra and trail running. ClearidiumAny Lab Test Now, or local testing providers, are some of the non-WADA compliant testing programs an athlete may encounter at mountain, ultra or trail races.

As mentioned previously, ITRA’s Quartz program is a health screening service and should not be mistaken for a robust & complete anti-doping program. ITRA Quartz does not test specifically for performance enhancing drugs, although an adverse result in their screening process can indicate PED use. In this case, a “No Start” rule may be applied to an athlete by a race organizer.

These non-WADA compliant organizations offer the benefit of discouraging athletes from doping, however, they do not provide the same services as WADA compliant testing. WADA tests ensure quality drug testing for all substances on WADA’s Prohibited List, internationally recognized athlete sentences and appeal system, and out-of-competition testing. Although non-WADA compliant testing may be a more affordable option for race directors looking to discourage doping, WADA tests remain the universal standard for athlete drug testing. Listed below are factors race directors should consider when deciding which form of testing to choose, or is required, for their events.

ITRA, IAAF or USATF-Sanctioned Event Required Testing
Race directors who partner with ITRA, IAAF or become a USATF-sanctioned event, are required to provide specific WADA or non-WADA certified testing. ITRA partners with races across the globe and requires its events to implement ITRA Quartz health screening procedures. This health screening procedure sometimes takes the place of traditional drug testing at ITRA events.

There are currently over 200 events in 2019 that have partnered with ITRA in North America, and many more events in Europe, South America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. The 2019 Trail World Championships, held this past June in Miranda do Corvo, Portugal, partnered with ITRA and implemented ITRA Quartz health screening.


The IAAF and USATF-sanctioned events require WADA-certified testing. The World Mountain Running Championships and World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships administer WADA testing. Nationally sanctioned events, such as the US Mountain Running Championships require WADA testing. Paul Kirsch, race director of the Loon Mountain Race, host of the 2018 US Mountain Running Championships, shared that all costs of the WADA testing for his event were covered by USADA.


Customized Testing Options
Some non-WADA compliant testing services may offer customized testing options to match a race director’s budget. Any Labs Test Now is one such company that has the ability to test for specific substances on WADA’s Prohibited List without requiring race directors to test for the entire list. This allows race directors to lower the cost of testing. Although a customized test may be less expensive, race directors who choose to test for only certain substances on WADA’s Prohibited List may fail to catch dopers in their event. Customized testing does not promote a universal approach of what should be tested for, leading to possible confusion about what athletes can take and need to avoid.

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