St. John's runner banned from competition after failing drug test

A St. John's runner is appealing a sanction handed down by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport after failing to pass a drug test following a race in May.

David Freake said he was banned from competition for four years after he took oral nasal decongestants.

Freake said he was approached by a doping control officer after dropping out of a race in Ottawa due to an injury. He said he told the officer he had taken some medication but didn't knowingly take anything banned, he told CBC.

"I believe in a clean sport and love competing. I respect the CCES [Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport] and all that they do," Freake said in an email to CBC News. 

"I hope to appeal the ruling and continue to run as it's something I truly love to do."

Devin Heroux/CBC

Freake said he was alerted last Friday about the sanction.

In September, Freake took seven minutes off the course record of a half-marathon in Nova Scotia. In May, he won the Toronto marathon with a time of 02:33:57. 

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport would not comment on the decision. 

However, according to their website, the Canadian Anti-Doping Program "provides for a large degree of flexibility to decrease or increase the sanction depending on the unique facts of each case and the results of evidence-based tests."

For the presence, use or possession of a banned substance, the site states, a runner will be ineligible for either two or four years on a first offence.

CBC News has asked the Newfoundland and Labrador Athletic Association for comment.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador