ROAD NEWS: Pan-Am and the self-efficacy debate. Roundup for w/ending 24/6/19

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There’s a reason this is late… read on…


I guess this is the American equivalent of the Commonwealth Games. Is that fair? Though with y’know, less awkward history associated maybe? I’m going to stop going down that road now before I show my ignorance. Anyway, Gladys Tejeda of host nation, Peru was the winner of the women’s marathon. 17 women from Peru, USA, Columbia, Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, Chile, Costa Rica, Argentina and Venezuala duked it out in on the first day of the games. The previous Games Record was 2:35:40, so with the top seven women finishing inside that, it was a swift race this year.

Traynor’s statement

Traynor’s statement

So that brings me to the reason this is late. I’ve been pondering what to write about Gladys Tejeda. I feel like I want to comment on it but there’s so much I want to read up on that I’ve be paralysed into not writing anything.

As Alison Wade of fast women points out, Tejeda ‘won the same race the last time it was held, four years ago, but tested positive for furosemide, a diuretic commonly used as a masking agent for other substances’. The Pan-Am Sports Organisation took away her medal but she was only given a 6 month ban. Some have commented that a short bad mean that the governing body believe that it was an accidental dose that was taken and not something done to either enhance performance or mask other performance enhancing substances. This comes in the same week that GB athlete Luke Traynor has been banned for taking cocaine. Traynor says in his statement (here) that it was a one off social event and didn’t enhance his performance, in fact it had the opposite effect. So, IF (and I realise that’s a big IF) an athlete accidentally takes a banned substance and serves their ban, is it fair to let them compete again? I’ve been reading Alex Hutchinson’s excellent book ‘Endure’ which talks a lot about the benefits of self-efficacy in sport. That is, the was that an athlete’s belief in their personal ability affects their performance. If you’ve run fast once because you were doping, regardless of whether it was intentional, surely that means that you are able to run faster in the future than you would otherwise have been able to? A bit like how the 4min mile was a barrier for a long time but once it had fallen loads of people managed it. One performance drives the ability to do the others. I did a quick shout out on twitter to ask if there was any research about the effect of a doped performance on future ability and got a good few responses. The most immediate and exciting was from none other than Camille Herron (ultra runner SHERO) who sent this link over It notes that ‘Experiments with mice showed that a brief exposure to testosterone allowed the mice to rapidly regain muscle later in their lives’. So, if the mice had just the shortest smallest advantage via nefarious means once in their life, it still had a positive effect way way into the future. To give some figures : ‘they found that three months after the drug was withdrawn, their muscles grew by 30% after six days of exercise. A control group of mice saw growth of just 6% in the same time period.’

The study in the BBC article used testosterone but there is also one from 2013 which used steroids. The same results seem to have showed up (see here) :“mice were briefly exposed to steroids which resulted in increased muscle mass and number of cell nuclei in the muscle fibres. Three months after withdrawal of the drug (approximately 15% of a mouse’s life span) their muscles grew by 30% over six days following load exercise. The untreated mice grew insignificantly.”

If that effect can be mapped across onto humans then the logic would suggest that all doping offenses no matter how minor should lead to a lifetime ban. Now, when you take into account the stories of coaches in some places forcing or duping their athletes into taking things, that adds a different ethical muddle. It’s not simple, but it’s certainly one to chew over for those of us watching the sport. I would argue that for those in the governing bodies though, it needs serious research and some form of action.

I’m also trying to get access to read some research articles that I was recommended which are held at Psychological Determinants of Whole-Body Endurance Performance The sources of self-efficacy in experienced and competitive endurance athletes The Psychobiological Model of Endurance Performance: An Effort-Based Decision-Making Theory to Explain Self-Paced Endurance Performance

I don’t know quite what I think about this specific case - I don’t have enough info so I’m going to rish a bruised backside and sit on the fence, but here’s what Steph Bruce thought of the Tejeda win ..

PlaceCountryLast, FirstTimeDiff' 
2USASACHTLEBEN Bethany02:31:20+0:25PB 
3COLORJUELA SOCHE Angie Rocio02:32:27+1:32PB 
4ECUCHACHA CHACHA Rosa Alva02:32:45+1:50PB 

So there we are - all that procrastination and going down a rabbit hole of reading has meant I don’t really have time to bring you anything else. I might even revisit this subject in a separate email / post if you’re interested - do let me know by emailing me or via &


I’m featuring this because Sarah Sellers (you know, the full time nurse anesthetist who was second at Boston 2018) got a new Half Marathon PB. I love that Sarah is working so hard in all senses of the word and is determined to be more than just that Boston person (sorry that it’s still my point of reference!). After a 2019 Boston that she found disappointing the temptation was always going to be to make drastic changes but, aptly, she has been wisely guided and has taken the Des Linden approach of ‘just keep showing up’ . It seems to finally be clicking back in again. If you’re interested in her post-Boston 2019 ponderings, see here for her thoughts on it and the possibility that she peaked to early in her training block.

Screenshot 2019-08-02 at 13.46.41.png
  1. Sarah Sellers 1:12:56.5

  2. Angie Nickerson 1:16:51.4

  3. Tawny Bybee 1:19:19.4
    For infor, the full Marathon was won in 3:22:50 by Jamie Alvizo


  1. Ruth Chepngetich, KEN 1:10:39 CR by nearly 1 min

  2. Helalia Johannes, NAM, 1:12:16

  3. Bedatu Hirpa, ETHI 1:13:17


  1. Eunice Chumba, BAH, 2:32:25 4 min CR

  2. Yetsehay Desalegn, ETH, 2:34:47

  3. Alemaz Negede, ETH, 2:50:30


Screenshot 2019-08-02 at 13.39.40.png

It was really interesting to hear an American interviewing a british marathoner and learning how our selection process differs in Linsey Hein’s ‘I’ll have another’ podcast this week. Linsey chatted to 3rd fastest UK marathoner of all time, Charlotte Purdue, who trains in Australia with the Melbourne Track club. Listen here

As a NAZ Elite fan I’m always interested to find other training groups that are similarly open and make me want to cheer them on like a football (soccer) team. I’ve written before about how the UK lacks something like this and I was interested to hear of the which includes Emma Bates on their roster. Any others I should know about? Educate me!


The IAAF previews the Sunshine Coast Half Marathon, AUS

Sinead Diver will be going for back-to-back victories in the Sunshine Coast Half-Marathon, an IAAF Bronze Label road race on Sunday (4 August), but each will have their eye on a bigger prize.

An AU$25,000 (US$ 17,000/ EUR 15,300) bonus awaits any one runner who can better the Australian all-comers’ records, currently held by Pat Carroll at 1:01:11 and Lisa Weightman at 1:09:00, respectively.’