Now it’s commonplace, and almost every road race in Eastern Washington has a similar clause in their race entry forms.
GMR’s (Genetically Modified Runners) started showing up in early 2013. Gene therapy involving injections of horse DNA into runners was developed by a small group of genetics graduate students unable to find work. By sheer luck, they all got temporary jobs last summer at a local running store. Putting their minds together, they developed a brisk backroom business offering pricey gene therapy.
After horse DNA is injected, the body incorporates it within its cellular structure. Runners improve to levels that are beyond human. The only side effects are a mutation of the feet which gives a slight hoof-like appearance, and a few runners develop a thin strip of mane running down the back of the neck and upper spine.
GMR’s have quickly learned to throttle back to avoid suspicion. Winning by a minute or two is okay. Crossing the finish line when the second place runner is at the halfway point is not.
Fortunately, GMR’s will never be an issue among elite runners. Any non-human DNA in the body is easily detectable. Thus, this issue is limited to small-time fun runs that don’t test entrants.
“They needed someone to test the therapy, so I volunteered. I’ve won every race I’ve entered. Other than an occasional intense desire to eat a bucket of oats, I feel great.”
I spoke with a couple race directors, and both said they were more than happy with Todd running in their races. When I asked why Todd could enter, but not other GMR’s, one replied, “It’s because Todd’s such a nice guy. He’s an exception to the exception.”