'I Run Clean' anti-doping education programme goes mandatory

European Athletics U18 Championships press conference
Getty Images

All 1063 registered athletes competing at the European Athletics U18 Championships, including Hungarian prospects Virag Simon and Hanna Repassy, have completed the mandatory I Run Clean anti-doping education programme 

European Athletics has confirmed that all 1063 registered competitors in this week’s European Athletics U18 Championships in Győr, Hungary, have completed its I Run Clean anti-doping education programme.

The announcement marked the first time ever that anti-doping education has been a mandatory entry requirement for an international athletics championships.

Athletes participating in Győr were required to provide an encrypted certification number showing they had logged on to the I Run Clean e-learning platform with their phone or computer, created a personal profile and successfully finished the eight interactive units covering the anti-doping rules, general information on doping control procedures and the personal values that lead to good decision making.

Launched last year in English, the platform was expanded in 2018 to 25 languages, by far the most of any anti-doping education programme in the world.

“This is a real success story for European Athletics and for our sport,” said CEO Christian Milz. “Since we first used the words ‘I Run Clean’ on the number bibs at the 2015 SPAR European Cross Country Championships, the project has engaged most of our organisation, from our Medical & Anti Doping Commission to our Events & Competition Department to our Communications network to our Member Federations and, of course, the athletes.”

In addition to developing the innovative I Run Clean platform and contents with Transform AS, a Norwegian learning and communications agency, European Athletics has planned a three-year roll out including coordination of Member Federation communications managers, webinars for national team leaders and athlete outreach activities using ambassadors such as Olympic champions Andreas Thorkildsen and Erki Nool, European champion Jenny Meadows and Commonwealth Games champion Diane Modahl.

By the 2020 European Athletics Championships in Paris, all athletes of all ages will be required to complete the I Run Clean programme before entering any European Athletics event.

“When President Hansen assumed his post in 2015 he said he wanted to enhance anti-doping education and implement a sort of ‘driver’s license’ or certification. I Run Clean is the fulfilment of that promise and we are proud to have delivered on this important and challenging milestone without a hitch,” said Milz.

According to Milz, over 3,000 athletes have completed the I Run Clean programme since the platform has been online and European Athletics is aiming for even greater numbers in the coming months.

“The programme is free of cost and open to all athletes, regardless of their performance level, and the feedback we have had so far has been very positive. We think that by engaging young people with an attractive, user-friendly source of information about the fight against doping we can shape the thinking of a generation and make a positive impact on the culture of sport,” he added.

For more information see www.irunclean.org.