A TOTAL of 21 runners were tested at the 2016 Comrades Marathon, according to the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS).

The doping control samples are being tested and results will be released “as soon as possible”.

SAIDS officials were on hand to test competitors when the famous annual race between Pietermaritzburg and Durban took place on Sunday (May 29).  SAIDS CEO Khalid Galant said there were “many variables which have an impact on when test results can be made public and we must take the athletes’ rights into account, but we are committed to letting the public know as soon as possible”.

The 2016 Comrades Marathon winner also claimed a R1million prize for breaking the course record.  As per the normal procedure, the winner is only paid the prize money once the Comrades Marathon Association receives all the doping control results.  “We have therefore prioritised the testing of the samples so the winner and prize monies can be confirmed,” said Galant.

Galant pointed out that the Comrades Marathon attracts the world’s best ultra-distance runners and offers a large prize purse: “Naturally we want to safeguard the integrity of the event and elite competitors and potential podium finishers can expect that drug testing will take place,” he said.

Since 2010, a total of 18 marathon runners have tested positive in South Africa for a range of banned substances.

Most common of the banned substances found in these tests have been Methylhexaneamine and Nandrolone. Methylhexaneamine is used mainly as a stimulant and Nandrolone as an anabolic steroid.

Among SAIDS’s initiatives to combat doping in sport have been:

  • developing and implementing a comprehensive drug testing programme for all South Africa’s major sporting codes;
  • providing education and information on the dangers and consequences of doping;
  • Promoting the spirit of sport by encouraging the values of Fair Play
  • collaborating with African and other international anti-doping authorities to ensure that anti-doping regulations are applied equitably when international athletes train and compete on South African soil.