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Master athlete runners are taking pleasure at Kevin Castille’s four-year suspension for an anti-doping rule violation.
Kevin Castille was a crack cocaine dealer during the early part of his adult life. He was convicted and sentenced to prison for possession with intent to distribute in 2001. When he got out of prison, Castille decided to pursue middle-distance road racing.
Castille really made a name for himself in the sport when he started competing in the 40-44 age group in 2012. Castille seemingly came out of nowhere to defeat top masters champion runners. And for the last eight years, he has consistently dominated various distances including 5km, 10km, 15km, and half-marathons as a masters athlete.
While Castille showed early promised as a talented cross-country runner in high school, his life as a crack cocaine dealer took him on a different path than those followed by most of the masters athletes he competed against.
Several masters athletes suspected that Kevin Castille was using performance-enhancing drugs.
The other masters athletes were instantly suspicious of Castille’s success. A big part of it was the stigma associated with Castille of being a former crack dealer. His competitors were not hesitant to suggest that Castille was cheating with the use of performance-enhancing drugs. But Castille never failed a drug test – until 2019.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) collected a urine sample at the USA Track & Field Masters 10K Championship on April 28, 2019. The sample tested positive for the primary urinary metabolites of the anabolic steroid nandrolone – 19-norandrosterone (19-NA) as well as other prohibited 19-norsteroids.
Other masters athletes had no evidence to prove that Castille was using anabolic steroids. Their suspicions were based primarily on his consistently strong results and his frequent race schedule. Coach Pete Magill typifies this type of thinking.
“It’s not the performance that outs guys like Castille as PED users,” Magill said. “It’s the consistency of their top performances. They race week after week after week at a top level, while most masters runners (me included) find it hard to string more than a couple/few races together before the wheels come off and we need to recover.”
Many masters athletes were particularly upset because they suspected Castille of cheating them out of prize money. For example, Magill’s friend, John Gardiner, lost repeatedly to Castille. And missed out of a lot of prize money (estimated to be at least $2000). Also, Greg Mitchell blames Castille for undeservedly winning $1000-$2000 that would have otherwise gone to him.
In total, Castille earned at $66,400 in prize money from various races over the last several years.
Castille has set a few masters world records including the masters world 10,000-meter track record at 29:44.38 in 2017.
Castille will be eligible to return to masters age-group road racing competition in April 2023.
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