What to do about runners who’ve served suspensions for using performance-enhancing drugs is pretty fascinating once you dig deep into it. On the one hand, such runners have paid their debts to the running community, and if you believe in second chances/redemption, you might think they should be allowed to compete. On the other hand, the criminal recidivism rate among drug violators is pretty high, with one study finding that by 1994, nearly 3/4 drug offenders were rearrested within three years of their release. There might be important differences between recreational drug users/addicts and performance-enhancing drug users, but you can understand how other runners might be skeptical that a proven cheater has changed his or her ways.
True, the race organizers could automatically test all runners who’ve served suspensions, but that would only catch cheating after the fact. As Shalene Flanagan noted following the news that Boston Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo had failed a drug test, disqualifying a drug cheater doesn’t truly level the playing field, because other runners may have based their race strategy around beating that runner, to the detriment of competing against others.
* As someone who’s shopped for life insurance and been irked by how little benefit being in good shape has offered, I really hope that insurer John Hancock goes through with its plan of rebating premiums based on physical activity levels.
* I’m happily married so this news isn’t of any use to me, but single runners out there looking to attract women might be cheered up by research suggesting that “[m]ale marathon runners are more attractive to women — at least to women who, consciously or not, are seeking to reproduce.”
* Speaking of happy marriages, here’s a first-person story from a female runner whose husband was getting upset at how much she was spending on running shoes, due to wearing them so quickly with her heel striking.
* Remember those “too much running is bad for you” studies? Here’s another study with a bigger sample size that appears to refute those other ones (i.e., disproving the link between more miles and worse outcomes). The biggest decrease in mortality rate appears in general to be getting to 15 miles per week; after that, there are still further decreases in mortality rate, but they are smaller, incremental decreases.