Masters running phenomenon Kevin Castille banned for 4 years for steroid use

A lot of the news around athletes testing positive for performance-enhancing drug use feels remote—it’s usually world-class athletes, often from other countries.

But this case is closer to home. I’ve run in races “with” Kevin Castille, such as the Syracuse Festival of Races 5K, since it was the USATF National Masters 5K Championship race for many years. In 2012, he won in 14:25, beating Scott Weeks of Groton by over a minute and Jim Derick of Corning by almost 90 seconds. I was 36th. In 2016, he took second by 6 seconds to 22-year-old Omar Boulama from GVH, who was half his age. And in 2017 at age 45, he won again in 14:29, beating Hartshorne 50+ winner Kent Lemme by almost 90 seconds. I was 44th. I can’t say I ever talked with him, but we were all certainly aware of him. How could you not be—a masters runner laying down mid-14-minute 5Ks and winning major races outright?

In 2018, when I was directing the Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile, another upstate New York runner who knows Castille said we might be able to get him to come run Hartshorne, which he would likely have won going away. It didn’t work out in the end, and in retrospect, I’m glad, since it would have thrown a pall on our results forever.

So, wow. Just wow…

cheers… -Adam

Yeah, the rumors had been swirling about Castille for a while. I naively hoped that he was clean especially given his story of redemption through running. What is particularly unjust is the amount of prize money he stole from others over the past decade—ARRS lists his winnings as $66,000 and that’s not a comprehensive total. That is not to say that Castille was doping primarily for the money, I’d guess it had much more to do with his competitiveness and identity as an otherworldly Masters runner.

It would be great if there was some type of re-compensation to the athletes affected in cases like this. I imagine someone like Castille couldn’t repay his winnings but I wonder if the USATF (if it wasn’t dysfunctional) could compensate athletes who lost money to Castille at national championships.

Unfortunately, I think that doping at the Masters level is likely more prevalent than most expect. The first case that comes to mind is Eddy Hellebuyck. And lest we forget that Bernard Lagat had a positive A-sample years ago but then was cleared after his B-sample came back negative. And then there’s Abdi…ok, I’ll stop with the rumormongering.

—Rich H.

My impression from the discussion of him running at Hartshorne in 2018 was that the money was a big deal. If I remember right, there was a question of how much he could win if he came and set a meet record, along with whether we’d pay hotel and travel. It was all second-hand through this other guy, but my takeaway was that it wasn’t worth it for him come, in part because we weren’t going to pay expenses. So he might have been ekeing out a living on race winnings. $66K is a lot, but not when you look at it over a decade.

USATF is now reissuing medals and prizes, so there is some justice, @RichHeffron.

Note that Tim Van Orden, who eked into the age-graded prizes, competed at this year’s Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile.

July 17, 2020 INDIANAPOLIS IN Pursuant to the USADA (U.S. Anti-doping Agency) sanction accepted by Kevin Castille based on a positive sample collected at the 2019 USATF Masters 10K Championship, he has been disqualified from that Championship. For details, see here. The Masters LDR Committee is therefore announcing the following adjusted results for the Men’s Race:

AGE GRADED 1. Ken Youngers 62 36:19 92.02% $500, 2. Andy Gardiner 53 33.44 91.36% $400, 3. Norm Larson 63 37:13 90.63% $300, 4. John Barbour 65 38:39 88.95% $200, 5. Mark Reeder 59 36:46 88.40% $150, 6 & 7 (tie) John Sullivan 58 36:28 88.32% $112.50 and Tim Van Orden 50 34:01 88.32% $112.50.

Each of the first three runners, Youngers, Gardiner, and Larson, will receive an upgraded medal for Gold, Silver, and Bronze respectively. All seven runners will receive higher checks than previously anticipated; this higher amount is listed after each runner’s name.

AGE DIVISION M45 1. Brian Sydow 33:37 $100, 2. Chris Georgules 33:49, 3. Donal O’Sullivan 33:58.

Sydow, Georgules, and O’Sullivan will receive a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal respectively. Sydow will receive a $100 check for winning the division.

OVERALL 1. Eric Blake 32:17 $300, 2. David Angell 32:22 $200, 3. Brendan Prindiville 33:14 $100.

Blake, Angell, and Prindiville will now receive a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal respectively. They will receive the appropriate prize money listed after each name and time.

The results are being edited to reflect the DQ and movement of all other runners to a higher finishing place. These new results will replace the ones that are currently posted at Checks will be sent out immediately by the Race Director of the James Joyce Ramble, Martin Hanley. New medals will be ordered and shipped soon thereafter.

The Committee applauds these performances and encourages all who know these swift runners to congratulate them on their fine accomplishment, now fully recognized.

Mary Rosado, Masters LDR Chair, observed that “The goal of anti-doping testing is to ensure a clean sport where the athletes who earn their way to the top get the recognition they deserve. The actions taken today are consistent with that aim.” Drug testing will continue to be a part of Masters competition; the Committee urges all athletes to familiarize themselves with USADA rules, regulations, and procedures by consulting Anti-Doping 101.

Sounds like a “have bat, will travel” kind of guy.

I’ve always wanted to know how much they trim off their non-drugged time, how many homers McGwire would’ve hit, etc.

Thanks for sharing, @adamengst. This is excellent news. I’m delighted to see that USATF does have a compensation program in place.

I wonder that too. These people have to be pretty darn good to start with, or they likely wouldn’t have had the taste of success that would drive them to do something that’s clearly illegal. But for someone who’s just that slight notch down from great, it seems clear that the performance-enhancing drugs can bump them up into the top echelon.

Banned for 4 years. If he were in his prime, that would be an eternity. But in masters running, we are always waiting for the next five-year increment. I’m not going to say that 4 years is the blink of an eye, but it seems very different within the masters world than in the prime-age world.