Balogh said prohibited substance was for medical use, not sport.
Jackson amateur triathlete Holly Balogh tested positive for a prohibited substance last year and accepted a four-year suspension from Ironman, according to a press release sent out Feb. 21 by the Ironman Anti-Doping Program.
Balogh, 46, tested positive for an exogenous testosterone or its metabolites. She was tested May 14 following her first-place finish in the women’s 45-49 age group at the 2016 Ironman North American Championship Texas.
Balogh did not have a therapeutic use exemption for the testosterone and began serving her suspension July 11, 2016. The Jackson real estate associate said she didn’t apply for a therapeutic use exemption — which those in the sport abbreviate to TUE — because she said she didn’t know what a TUE was.
“I didn’t think that I was doping,” she said. “I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong.”
The press release said Balogh “was aware of the inherent risks associated with her conduct and proceeded to knowingly take the prohibited substance.”
Balogh called the statement “completely inaccurate.”
After she was tested Balogh immediately began surfing the internet to find out if there was anything in her body that could produce a positive test. When her research revealed that the testosterone was a banned substance, she then disqualified herself from the race.
“Even though I was taking a substance within my body’s normal hormonal range, that because it was a synthetic, it would not be allowed,” she said.
Balogh initially exercised her right to appeal the hefty penalty for a first-time offender, but withdrew the appeal.
“At the end of the day it was going to cost me in excess of $12,000 and expose significant details of my health history, which as an amateur athlete just didn’t make sense to me,” she said.
On Thursday, March 2, triathlon website 303 Triathlon published an article by Tim Heming stating that Holly Ballogh (née Hancock), a triathlete who had recently been giving a doping suspension by IRONMAN’s Anti-Doping Program, had turned to competing in ultramarathons under her maiden name of Holly Hancock and was entered to race this past Saturday’s Old Pueblo 50 Mile and had previously finished The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile – Utah in September 2016, also registered under her maiden name.
The text of the press release that explains her ban says it is a four-year ban starting on July 11, 2016, which precludes her from racing in “IRONMAN-affiliated competition or any events organized by any other WADA Code Signatory” during that time span.
By end-of-day Thursday, March 2, Holly Balogh (née Hancock) was no longer on the Old Pueblo entrants list. On Friday at 2 p.m., the race administration posted the following to their Facebook page, “I’ve been in touch with US Track and Field and USADA since Tuesday morning. I spoke to the person in question and she has been removed from the entrants list. All this can be verified by contacting Jeff Cook in the legal division at USADA, or you could have just checked the entrants list since Wednesday.” Thus, it seems conclusive that Holly Balogh (née Hancock) didn’t compete this weekend. (iRunFar attempted to contact the race administration on Friday, March 3, but has not received a response as of this publishing).
Given that her ban was announced on February 21, 2017, but that its start date preceded the TNF 50 Mile – Utah race day in September 2016, it looks like her results from that race should be removed as well. To be most precise, it actually looks like Holly Balogh (née Hancock) should not have been allowed to race TNF 50 Mile – Utah because she was already under a provisional suspension and because The North Face Endurance Challenge Series has an anti-doping policy that went into effect in August 2016 that disallows runners under current doping suspensions from participating in their events.