What drugs are ultrarunners using?

May 29, 2024

Recently, some of the most renowned ultras in the world, UTMB and Western States 100, have implemented new drug testing regimes, in a renewed committment to preserving integrity in ultrarunning. But what is the prevalence of drug usage among ultrarunners, and what, exactly, are these runners using? A study recently published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise explores what banned substances long-distance runners are putting into their bodies, and how prevalent doping is in the sport.

Researchers introduced an anonymous urine sampling method, aiming to provide more accurate measurements of drug use compared to traditional questionnaires, and collected urine samples and demographic data from 412 male participants using automated urinals at the start of races. In parallel, 2,931 male and female runners participating in the same races filled out a randomized-response, anonymous questionnaire about their drug use. Canadian Running