Chicago Marathon will honor Lance Armstrong’s drug ban
BY DALE BOWMAN For Sun-Times Media September 7, 2012 11:26PM
Marathon officials said that Lance Armstrong’s lifetime ban by the USADA prohibits him from running in sanctioned races. | Chris McGrath~Getty Images
Updated: October 9, 2012 3:06PM
Asked about Lance Armstrong being barred from running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Hal Higdon fired back.
“I think it is ridiculous,’’ said Higdon, the venerable Renaissance man of running. “We would probably let Wayne Gacy run, but not Lance Armstrong.’’
Friday in a Runnersworld.com story, Mark Fabiani, Armstrong’s spokesman, said they received word Thursday that Armstrong would not be allowed to run. According to Runnersworld.com, Armstrong had planned to run as a member of the team sponsored by his Livestrong Foundation.
In August, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency ruled that Armstrong was guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs, stripped him of his seven Tour de France cycling championships and banned him for life from all sports.
Marathon officials released a statement Friday that explained, “USADA’s lifetime ban prohibits Lance Armstrong from entering races sanctioned by USA Track & Field, which applies to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, as well as all competitions governed by USA Track & Field.
“The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has had no direct contact with Lance Armstrong, nor had he submitted a formal registration to participate in the race.’’
“I am sure [executive race director] Carey [Pinkowski] is trapped because he is inviting all these elite athletes and has prize money,’’ Higdon said.
Higdon is the author of the bestseller, Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide, now in its fourth edition, and the man who designed the training regiments followed by thousands who will run in the Chicago Marathon.
“I can understand why it would happen: The same reason they won’t let women run the Boston Marathon in the 1960s,’’ said Higdon, referring to antiquated AAU rules preventing women from running the Boston Marathon until 1972.
To Higdon, it illustrated a bigger change from 20th Century and 21st Century marathons. Marathons have grown to become great fund-raising events. Celebrities and pros in other sports run in marathons. The lines between pro and amateur are blurred and changed in marathons.
“Lance isn’t a serious threat to win the race,’’ Higdon said. “He is in it for other reasons.’’