Swimrun, development and doping – Where are we heading?

As some of you might have heard, last year the Norwegian cross-country skier Therese Johaug, considered the best in the world, got caught in a doping control.

What did she do?

In August 2017, she used a lip-cream bought and provided for by the Norwegian Ski Team’s doctor, to treat a sunburnt lip that she had gotten during high-altitude training in Italy. This is the official story and the doctor has taken full responsibility for the situation that resulted in a suggested 14-month suspension.


The substance Clostebol, which is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), was found in a urine sample, 13 nanogram Clostebol per millilitre. In 2013, an Italian bicyclist found with only 7 nanogram per millilitre, was suspended for 15 months.

Swimrun is a young sport developing fast, and for most of us swimrunning, this issue is generally not a problem. But when leagues and championships are forming and price money is thrown into the mix, how can swimrun avoid that which most other sports suffer from? For most substances the case is clear-cut, usually accompanied by a very visual symbol on the package. But there are grey zones that need to be taken into consideration, and doping is doping, regardless of the level.

A career for a sun-burnt lip?
A career for a sunburnt lip?

As an example, Bricanyl which is widely used as a reliever medication for asthmatic symptoms, in Sweden needs a special approval by the Swedish Sports Confederation if it is planned to be used in competitive sports on ‘high’ or national level. You actually have to submit a request to be exempted and there are many more border-line cases like this. If you’re using prescription medicine or similar, and if unsure, we recommend you head over to WADA to double-check on the status on your substance. You can also confirm with the race organisers, since some substances and regulations might vary between countries.

Better safe than sorry!

/The WoS Team