The Clean Sport Collective is a community of powerful voices comprised of athletes, brands, events, clubs, fans and the public to support the pursuit of clean sport and athletics through the absence of performance enhancing drugs.
With this podcast, we will celebrate clean athletes, educate you on issues in the world of clean sport, and bring hope that we can all believe in the power of fair play across all sports.
Episode #83: Kevin Hanson, Co-founder and Coach of Hansons-Brooks Distance Project
There are few in the sport that have so selflessly given back to it as Kevin Hanson, and he's been doing it for the last 40+ years. He has coached at every level from high school to community college to the pros. He and his brother started and continue to run the Hanson's Running Shops near Detroit, Michigan, and of course, they are also the co-founders and coaches of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, the program that produced Olympian and Boston Marathon Champion Desiree Linden.
In this episode, Chris and Shanna talk to Kevin about his journey from growing up near Detroit, Michigan in a lower-middle-class family to now giving back to the sport and to his home city as a coach, race director, and store owner.
Kevin tells the hilarious story of his introduction to the marathon via his brother Keith boldly deciding to run one at the age of 13. He shares how his high school coach inspired him to get into coaching himself and to dream big, which ultimately led to the formation of the Hansons-Brooks team even though everyone told them it was a foolish idea. He talks about the evolution of the team from bringing Brooks on as a sponsor to producing their first Olympian in Brian Sell in 2008 and ultimately to the big win for Des Linden in Boston in 2018.
Getting to the issues of clean sport, we discuss the zero-tolerance policy for doping on his team, the suspension of Alberto Salazar, the impact of super shoes on the roads and track, and the need for the re-allocation of funds from enriching the leaders in sports governance to more money for drug testing to catch the cheats.
Kevin is a no-nonsense kind of guy that operates with integrity, who will always speak the truth about any topic. This conversation with us was no exception. Thank you Kevin for all that you do for our sport and for clean sport.
Episode #82: Jim Walmsley, 4-Time Ultra Runner of the Year
You know Jim Walmsley as the 4-time ultra runner of the year who owns the course record at the Western States 100, the 50-mile world record, and now the US 100K record. You probably also know him as the trail runner who ran a 1:04 half marathon on the roads to qualify and compete in the Olympic Marathon Trials with the road specialists, where he finished a respectable 22nd last February.
But, did you know that he won a state cross country title in high school in Arizona? Or, that he attended the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs where he ran every distance from the mile to the 10,000 meters on the track including the steeplechase? Or, that he may not be the ultra trail runner he is today if not for being stationed at missile silo in Montana after graduation? Or, that he was one of the very first trail runners to sign the Clean Sport Pledge?
Learn all of those things and more in this episode with Jim led by Shanna and Kara. Jim holds nothing back in sharing his story openly and honestly. It is comforting for us to know that Jim is leading the way in the trail world, where the culture of clean sport is already strong.
Episode #81: Clare Egan, Olympian and World Cup Bronze Medalist in Biathlon
Clare Egan has *only* been competing in the sport of Biathlon for 8 years, but she has already made a lifetime of impact. Yes, you could talk about what she's accomplished for the US on the snow and ice as an athlete. She's an Olympian and a World Cup podium winner after all. Her real impact, however, has come as chair of the Athletes' Committee for the International Biathlon Union (IBU) where she's helped set a new tone in the sport, rooting out corruption in governance and taking a stand for clean sport.
In this episode, Clare shares her story with Kara and Chris. She discusses growing up in Maine in the hometown of Joan Benoit Samuelson where running and cross country skiing were her first loves in sport. She shares her unusual path to the sport of Biathlon, which she didn't discover until the age of 25 when she met a famous Biathlon coach through her ski team. You also get to hear the hilarious story of her first target shooting lesson when the coach unceremoniously advised her, "do not try to hit the target."
From there, we chat about her quick rise in the sport from Olympian in 2018 to World Cup bronze medalist in 2019, and Clare refreshingly tells us why she deserved that medal. Finally, we discuss all things clean sport as Clare talks about why it is such an important topic to her. Clare does not mince her words as she tells us that she believes the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) should be dismantled and re-organized if we are ever going to win this fight for clean sport.
She understands the impact of integrity within governance due to her involvement with the IBU, and we wholeheartedly agree with her perspective. Clare talks the talk and backs it up by walking the walk as an activist making change in her sport. We need more athletes willing to do so just like her.
NY Times articles referenced in the discussion:
Episode #80: Alexi Pappas, Olympian, Filmmaker, and Author of Bravey
For a professional runner, the resume of Alexi Pappas looks a little different than most. Even though she is an Olympian and 10,000m record holder for Greece, her running accolades might not even be at the top of the list. She's also an actress, filmmaker, and now author of her own memoir Bravey: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain, and Other Big Ideas.
Her journey in life, however, has not been an easy one. In this episode, Kara and Shanna talk with Alexi about the challenges she has faced and the life lessons that have come along the way. Alexi discusses the difficulty of losing her mom to suicide at a young age and her evolving perspective on her mom's struggle as she has aged. She shares the story of being forced to quit her high school XC/track team and how it ended up being a blessing in disguise for her future in the sport. She talks about the importance of team in her life and all of the ways others (including Kara) have shown up for her.
Alexi tells us why she chose to run for Greece, the magic of running a PR and national record in the Olympics in Rio in 2016, and then how she battled and overcame her own depression immediately following.
Of course, we also get Alexi's perspective on doping, including her own initial naivete about it, and what she wants to see for the future of sport. This interview with Alexi is unlike any we have ever done. There is something for everyone in the discussion, and we are thankful that Alexi was so willing to openly share her story. Alexi is a role model to so many, and we highly recommend that you check out her book!
Here are the two articles mentioned in the discussion:
Episode #79: Ali Jawad, 3-Time Paralympian in Powerlifting
We dare you to tell Ali Jawad that he can't do something. He will probably prove you wrong just as he's been doing his entire life.
Ali was born without legs, but he has never viewed that as a disadvantage. At age 7, he dreamed of being on an Olympic podium after watching Michael Johnson win double golds in the 200m and 400m in Atlanta. He finally made that dream come true by winning a silver medal in Rio in 2016 in his third Paralympic Games. The journey to that podium was not an easy one. In fact, Ali nearly lost his life in 2010 due to complications from Crohn's disease.
In this episode with Kara and Chris, Ali shares his inspiring story, one that has been grounded in integrity since the very beginning. He discusses his first week in powerlifting at 16 when his coach gave him the choice to always compete clean or get out of his gym. He talks about his meteoric rise in the sport to his first Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008, but his chances for the podium there were derailed by a mysterious illness. That illness, later diagnosed as Crohn's disease would nearly take his life and almost cost him his career in 2010. Ever present, he is still struggling with the impact of Crohn's on his body to this day.
Ali discusses how he overcame these challenges to become a World Champion in 2014, European Champion in 2015, and then win that coveted silver medal in Rio in 2016. Now, Ali hopes to make a 4th Paralympic team in Tokyo this year, but he tells you why it might be his biggest challenge yet.
Along the way, Ali has been an outspoken advocate for clean sport since the very beginning of his career in powerlifting. He has spoken out against systematic doping in his sport, advocated for lifetime bans, and provided specific recommendations on how to change the governance structure within WADA in order to better elevate the athlete's voice.
You will not find an athlete who speaks more clearly on these topics, and we are honored to share Ali's inspiring story with you.
Episode 78: Mikel Thomas, 3-Time Olympian in the 110m Hurdles
Track and field is full of thousands of athletes who train hard, seeking glory without a sponsor and unsure of where they might earn their next check to cover rent and food. Mikel Thomas is one of those athletes, and in spite of all of his challenges, he's grinded to 3 Olympic Games and podium finishes at the Pan Am Games and NACAC Championships (for North America, Central America, and the Caribbean).
Plus, he is now an advocate on topics that include athletes' rights and clean sport, even while he is attempting to make a 4th Olympic team, because he wants to leave the sport a better place for those who will come after him. He also wants to make his mother proud.
In this episode with Chris and Kara, Mikel shares his story from being born in Trinidad and Tobago to moving to Brooklyn at a young age to the turning-point moment when a school administrator chose not to punish him but instead to give him an opportunity in sport that would change his life forever. He talks about making the most of that opportunity by teaching himself how to run in the high hurdles by watching YouTube videos even as coaches told him he couldn't do it.
He's proved them and others wrong time and time again, not only learning and excelling at the high hurdles but also overcoming countless figurative hurdles from lack of sponsorship to eviction and injury to being forced to speak out against an embezzlement scandal within his own federation.
Regarding clean sport, Mikel discusses seeing organized doping within the sprints as an athlete, and he details his experience seeing it from the top while working as an intern at the International Testing Agency (which is affiliated with WADA).
Mikel says that his story shows that he is either relentless or stubborn. We think it's both... in a good way. Join us in standing with Mikel to support him in his journey to Tokyo and in his fight to empower and educate athletes for clean sport worldwide.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Love the ultra episode with jim walmsley
So fun hearing jim walmsley talk about running ultras! Such passion. And such a universal feeling when you dnf or bonk-whether you’re a back of the packer,or an elite like him. Interesting to hear some of his goals. Great interview!
What a great interview with Lee!
It was fascinating to hear about Lee’s incredible journey with running. I really appreciated the insights about clean sport in Australia. It was great to hear that new perspective on this podcast!
Good interviews. Terrible production values.
I love the purpose and vision for Clean Sports Collective. But they sound like they’re producing the show from an empty garage. There are reasons to have decent production values and they should pick up their game!