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Deca Triathlon champion tests positive

After setting a world record for a triathlon 10x the distance of an Ironman, athlete tests positive

Photo by: Robert Karas Instagram

It’s hard to get your head around the race, let alone the news that came out from the Deca Triathlon held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in May. The Deca Triathlon “Continuous” includes 38 km of swimming, 1,800 km of cycling and 422 km of running. The event was held in May, with Poland’s Robert Karas shattering the world record by over 18 hours with his 164 hours, 14 minutes and two seconds finishing time.

Earlier this week Karas took to social media, though, to report that he had tested positive at the event, and that he was awaiting the test of his “B” sample.

The International Ultra Triathlon Association (IUTA) confirmed that there had been a positive test of an athlete, but did not name the athlete.

In a post dated Aug. 1, the IUTA wrote:

After all the great news from the weekend, we also have less good news: Unfortunately, we have to report a positive result from the urine test of an athlete from the event in Brazil in May 2023. There are reports circulating on the WWW that we reported the positive result or confirmed something. This is not true. We have not informed anyone about it. We are only in contact with the athlete in question and the responsible anti-doping authority. Please understand that we will not answer any inquiries until the case is closed. The protection of the athlete is our top priority. 

Photo: Robert Karas Instagram

In May Karas completed the swim in 9:34:17, the bike in 69:20:16, then finished the run in 84:30:35. (In case your math is as bad as mine, that total of 164:14:02 is just under seven days.)

In his post Karas writes that while recovering from a broken arms, rib and foot he was “prescribed medications that contained substances found on the WADA list. I have been repeatedly assured that taking these drugs will not affect the preparation or the performance in Brazil itself.”

Until we get more details from the IUTA, or Karas himself, we won’t know if the Pole applied for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for those drugs, or if they are, in fact, the drugs he tested positive for in May.