Christian Hesch, road racer, admits to doping

Quinn Rooney - Getty Images

Doping isn't just for the elites. Christian Hesch, an L.A.-based road racer, has admitted to doping. He runs small prize races (and lots of them).

Christian Hesch, a prolific runner (and winner) of road races with small prizes, admitted to doping to the New York Times for a Monday story. He told The Times he doped 52 times between 2010 and 2012, and won roughly $40,000 in prizes at distances from the mile to the half-marathon during the span. He apparently runs multiple races a week at times.

Runner's World has a much more robust, telling story about how Hesch's doping came to light. Hesch and The Times would have you believe that the runner decided to come clean; his teammates with Nike Team Run L.A. actually discovered his habit and told him that they'd turn him in to USADA if he didn't do so first. USADA is indeed investigating Hesch.

This is no great scandal -- do even hardcore running fans know who Hesch is? -- but it's really, really sad. Doping to win a 5K with a $500 prize? Is that really where we are now? Doping to beat that oppressive 4-minute barrier on the mile? It's all so ... insane.

It's a bit funny, too, since the normal medical scandals in semi-pro racing are usually so quaint, like the controversy over whether the top ultra runners should be taking IV drips at the finish line to aid recovery (instead of for emergency rehydration only).

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