Claire Hitchings Coaching

Cheaters to be cheetahs


I have a few pet-hates: people who litter; dog owners who don't clear up after their dogs; and people who cheat and by doing so selfishly rob other athletes of precious and magical moments. Think about crossing the finish line and knowing you've won a medal versus years after the event being awarded a medal after someone is disqualified following a sample re-analysis. The two things just don't compare.

So most people like to win; they like to be as fast as cheetahs but some prefer to cheat rather than put in the hard work.

Some just out-right dope, some get found out and then it just gets uncomfortable watching them try and get out of the messes they've created for themselves.

Then there's the whole controversial issue of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs). The Russian hackers Fancy Bears have revealed some stuff that I bet many top athletes so wish they hadn't. And there have been many debates that whilst no anti-doping rules are broken when the TUEs is approved, but what about the ethics of TUE use? I like the following quote from Geraint Thomas: "I would be quite happy to ban them [TUEs] completely in sport. I think sport is about pushing yourself and your body to the limits. If you have a sore knee or asthma or something, that is just part of it. It is a bit of a dodgy area, though, isn't it?"

Then there's the weird and wonderful...Earlier this month a story that did the rounds on social media was ultra-marathoner Kelly Agnew who won his races by hiding in a Porta-Potty. The organisers discovered that he wasn't clocking in at a checkpoint halfway through the ~1-mile loop. Turns out, he was sitting in a Porta-Potty for 7 minutes and then jumping out to cross the mat at the start/finish at the exact time he needed to keep his 'mile pace' consistent. OMG! Who thinks to do stuff like that!? Porta-Potties are pretty vile places to hang out; especially when been used by nervous athletes!

And it's not all about elite athletes. Oh no, there are occasional stories of middle-aged age group women like myself who seem to be quite comfortable cheating especially when slots for the World Champs in Kona are up for grabs!

Canadian triathlete Kristen Johnson was disqualified from a triathlon after she let air out of the tires of a competitor's bike before the race. The bike owner's husband happened to be near the bike when he heard the loud 'pssssssss' of air being released from a tire, and saw Kristen bent over behind his wife's bike." Kristen's version of events was that she thought it was her friend's bike and was letting air out for her. Yeah right!!

This was the huge profile case of Julie Miller, covered by The New York Times in an article called Swim. Bike. Cheat? It's defo worth a read: In short, she seemingly often 'loses' her timing chip and goes and hides somewhere and then pops up at the end as the winner. This time the girls that thought they'd won and podiumed weren't at all convinced. At the medal ceremony the girl who thought she'd won confronted her. 'Where did you pass me? I was looking for everyone in the age group and I would have seen you.'

Let me tell you when you are out on the run you know exactly who passes you! It's a horrible feeling. There's nothing you can do but watch them put a bigger and bigger gap into you.

Anyhow, some people pieced it all together using photos taken on the day and other evidence and it didn't add up and she was disqualified and suspended by Triathlon Canada. As far as I know she's never admitted her guilt or apologised.

So there you go! Actions have consequences. So stop cheating and get training!

Onto my other news for 2018:

I've qualified for the World Off-Road Triathlon Championships in Denmark in July. Whoop whoop!

Yesterday I got the Strava QOM (Queen of the Mountains) for the road I grew up in Haywards Heath and where my parents still live. A 71 km ride to then blast the final 100 ms! Crazy, crazy!

Hopefully by the end of this week I will have completed my Triathlon Level 2 coaching award.

My Team Tri Hard athletes are smashing it in training!! Roll on race-season.


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