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 met working 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, runners improve to levels that are beyond human. Some side effects include a mutation of the feet which gives a slight hoof-like appearance, and a thin strip of mane on the upper back.
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 won’t challenge 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.”