We see a version of the honor system every weekend at road races across the globe where thousands of strangers align themselves into a solid grid behind posted pace signs. But while runners might consider themselves an honest lot compared to the general population, there are less than honorable types mixed in as well, ranging from small-time PR fibbers to major event thieves who utilize performance enhancing drugs to claim what others rightfully deserve.
Asking human beings to self-regulate is to welcome disappointment, as any IRS agent or local priest hearing confessions can attest. But from a purely physiological standpoint, bad behavior can in part be attributed to hardware. The area of the brain responsible for self-regulation is the frontal cortex, which is a late-bloomer. It develops gradually over adolescence, though in some cases never at all. Accordingly, we must protect ourselves against the lesser angels within.
From the Ten Commandments on down men have attempted to regulate behavior through laws and their consequences. But here we are again and again, and again and again, and maybe once more
staring at a headline announcing another positive drug test that tears the guts out of this sport, leading us to wonder at what point does the insanity definition kick in: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?
It is with this question in mind that we absorb the news of Olympic Marathon champion Jemima Sumgong‘s positive doping test for the banned blood booster EPO announced this past week by the IAAF. (more…)