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Endurance sports are all about athletes pushing their limits in pursuit of finding what they are made of. Unfortunately, there are also those athlete who turn to performance enhancing drugs to gain an advantage in search of faster times, better performances and more money. To combat this growing problem and shine a light on all of the athletes who do choose to compete clean, Shanna and Kevin Burnette, Ramin Razavi, Alia Gray and Kevin Rutherford created the Clean Sport Collective.
Using what they term as four positive lanes of change, the CSC seeks to bring together everyone involved, from the athletes and brands to the fans and events. The first lane is awareness, and it is based on a critical mass of athletes speaking out. Second is the actual testing itself. The Collective will support drug testing centers with tools and research that are on the cutting edge of technology. The third is industry advocacy, which is again built on the idea of creating a community that puts the people above the performance. The last step is restoration. This means recognizing that people do make mistakes and rather than vilifying them, the Collective wants to provide an environment where someone who has doped in the past, or someone who has spoken out about doping and faced recrimination can feel safe to bring attention to cheating.
Kevin Burnette sums up the Collective’s mission saying, “The goal was to create an inclusive community where anyone could pledge their support for clean sport. And, we wanted a way for organizations like brands and events to get involved so they could have way to ensure, to the best of their knowledge, their sponsorship and prize money was being awarded to clean athletes.”
The CSC already boasts a large number of athletes and brands across different sports that support their mission. It includes athletes like Gwen Jorgensen, Jesse Thomas, Kara Goucher, Emma Coburn and more. Brands that are on board are Nuun, Picky Bars, Brooks, Altra and others.
Amateur athletes, coaches, and even fans can take the Clean Sport pledge (it’s free) to support the movement. There is also a Clean Sport certification that takes things a bit farther and actually sets up testing mechanisms for athletes, brands, events, and more. Becoming certified does require the athlete, brand or event to pay, and there is an annual renewal fee. Of course you can also simply donate money to help the Clean Sport Collective. Find out more and take the pledge at Cleansport.org.