Mill Race Marathon organizers have taken a step this year that is a sign of the times but an important one nonetheless when considering integrity of the fourth annual event.

An anti-doping drug policy has been implemented to deter competitors from cheating and to ensure a clean race and level playing field. The policy applies to all athletes competing for cash awards Sept. 24 in the marathon and half-marathon; runners in the 5K are not affected.

Organizers will be cross-checking the list of entrants against a list the International Association of Athletics Federation keeps of runners suspended for use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The forfeiture of prize money and finishing place should be strong deterrents to questionable acts.

Organizers have made the importance of the policy clear: “The Mill Race Marathon event supports healthy lifestyles that encompass physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. This can only be attained through everyone’s commitment to a ‘clean’ event.”

The anti-doping policy is aimed at runners who have been suspended previously for using performance-enhancing drugs. The trend has been for suspended runners to enter smaller races where they might go undetected and win cash prizes. That’s a sad reality but one that Mill Race Marathon organizers were compelled to address.

We commend the decision to implement the anti-doping policy. It’s important that the Mill Race Marathon establish and maintain a solid reputation and not have it be tarnished by runners who cheat. This is a solid step to ensure that.