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And getting a permit doesn't entitle them to do anything they want. If enough people complain to the FS I suspect they will listen and they absolutely can require a more fair entry procedure as a stipulation of the permit in the future.
But your point is well taken. The rules regarding participation in events permitted on public land should apply to all races. And making the permit issuers aware if what is going on is the best way to affect change. They do actually listen to the public. Certainly the race organizers feel their actions are totally appropriate and are unlikely to change without pressure. To their credit both races are upfront at least about their goals and the lottery procedures. I don't think they are deliberately hiding anything, just misguided.
In the case of HR I have often wondered if keeping the field so small actually increases the environmental impacts. Because it is so hard to get in to it is becoming something that will likely be a once-in-a-lifetime event. When people get in they plan their entire year around it, come out weeks before to acclimate, scout the course, etc. And they bring family and friends along to crew and pace and be part of the mythic experience. And all summer long there are now people on the course, even unmarked, non-system trails who want to experience a part of the event. I lived in the area since before there was a lottery and I have watched it balloon to the point where I don't even want to be near Silverton in early july anymore. It has become such a zoo.
I don't know for certain but maybe if they allowed 500 people every year, the stigma will be lessened and it would become like any other race and people would just show up on race day and run because they know they will likely get a dozen chances to run it over the course of their lives. I realize altitude acclimation and course familiarity are still important in such an event but surely they become less important if you know you will get a second chance.
Maybe it would be better to have 500 racers and 500 pacers for a couple days than to have 150 racers and 1000 family, friends, crew etc, in the area for weeks.
My issue is with HR veterans getting virtually automatic ins. The HR board can certainly make whatever decisions they like with regards to letting all their friends come back year after year, but I think the Forest Service and BLM need to take a harder look at the way the race utilizes our PUBLIC lands. It should not be a private party. When there are thousands of people trying year after year after year to get in and a few people who get in every single year it is contradictory to the egalitarian spirit of our public lands which should be equally available to all. If you want to have a private party for your friends, great, but do it on private land.
The HR board has the right to WANT anything they desire for their race but they don't have the right to DO anything they damn well please on our PUBIC land. They still need a permit and the FS and BLM need to step up and exercise a little more oversight over the entry procedures on lands they manage.
You of all people should know that there is no authority to report such things to. Doping in sport is illegal in some countries but not in the US. Very few races in the US fall under any sanctioning body. You could see someone getting a transfusion in the streets of Ouray or Auburn and there would be nobody to call who would have any authority to do anything about it. The only way to prevent such things is for the community to have frank and open discussion about what is acceptable and what is not acceptable and speak out against athletes that violate the ethics of the community. That’s not rumor – mongering, it is collective self – policing until such a time as we have an authority. It’s still the wild west in ultra – running and is up to the citizens to stand – up for themselves until a sheriff is elected.
Does that mean an athlete who uses such a coach is automatically guilty. Of course not. But it does tell me that those athletes are not committed to clean sport. They are ethically challenged and they have access to both doping materials and doping methods. To me their results are questionable and the sport itself is damaged by their decisions. The way to prevent this is for the ultra-running community to collectively say it is not acceptable to allow such coaches in our sport. If people speak out, sponsors will respond and if sponsors respond then athletes will have no choice but to seek other coaches.
Judging by the popularity of my comments I think most people agree with me that is a problem. But hitting a thumbs up button is different than being vocal with your name attached to it. And the editors of this site repeatedly defend and excuse the athletes who use those coaches and censor those who speak out. They provide save haven for ethically challenged athletes to credit their coaches performance for their success, and thereby encouraging others to seek out the same coaches without allowing anyone to question it. They are damaging the sport by their actions.
I'd love to see someone come up with a coalition for clean sport in ultra-running. They could collect money from sponsors, athletes, and RDs. $5000 could test the top 3 men and women at randomly selected events. Two or 3 a year would probably be enough to catch a few people, open some eyes, and begin changing the culture of the sport, without being so often that it provides a big incentive to beat the test.