The North Face and Gary Robbins take a stand against doping in trail running

In a year that has been riddled with doping bans, allegations and one massive scandal revolving around banned substances, one major running brand is taking a stand against runners who have been caught using drugs.

The North Face– a name which many associate with outdoor sports and trail running– hosts The North Face Endurance Challenge Series and has recently stood up against athletes who have been caught doping. The brand’s series has events in Utah, California, New York, Washington D.C., Ontario and Wisconsin. Their Ontario event is the sole Canadian event.

Recently, the series made note in their policy to strongly discourage the use of performance-enhancing drugs. In doing so, they also said that any athlete who has been caught with drugs and banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the IAAF or any national sports federation, will not be eligible to run in their event either.

Furthermore, when the ban is lifted, they are allowed to compete but won’t be able to take home any prize dollars or get a spot on the podium.

The North Face are not alone in taking a strong stand against those athletes who turn to banned substances to do well in competition. A group of trail runners have signed a pledge as part of Run Clean, Get Dirty— a platform that showcases clean athletes in trail running. It was started by Paul Kirsch and David Roche and featured athletes on the site have taken a pledge to be clean. If caught for doping, they all agree to be banned for life from winning prize money or getting any recognition in the sport.

RELATED: Hallucinations, sleep deprivation and vertical cliffs: What Gary Robbins’ Barkley Marathons was really like

Notable trail runners who have taken this pledge include Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg and Canadians Calum Neff, Ellie Greenwood and Gary Robbins– the Vancouver runner who is especially famous for participating in this year’s Barkley Marathons.

Robbins explains his reasoning for pledging to stay drug-free below:

“This sport was born of pure, simple and honest roots, to challenge your body and mind in the mountains and out on the trails.

We need to take every step possible to preserve the integrity and character that has naturally pervaded in trail running circles for decades. This is one small step in the right direction. Hats off to those who created this site and to those who have taken the pledge and to those who will.”
As for The North Face series, has gone ahead in Ontario for three years now and takes runners on quite a difficult course as they run up and down the ski resort inclines at Blue Mountain in the middle of summer. For photos of the event, see here.

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