Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ultrarunner or Drug Smuggler?

Rick Gaston had an experience a couple of weeks ago that is good for all of us airline-bound ultrarunners to learn from. I think the pic and below quote sums it up - be careful how you package your fuel mix and salt tablets before going through the security check!

(Cytomax and salt pills - or is it?!? Photo courtesy of Rick Gaston)
[Dialogue from Rick's July 4th entry]

2 Officers: So look what you've created here is a suspicious situation. You're transporting powder, white powder at that in small plastic bags. Under x-ray it all looked very suspicious. Now we actually did take out your bag and tested it. Because this is a small airport we were able to handle it quickly but had this been a larger airport, say San Francisco, you could have missed your flight.

Me: I understand officers.

2 Officers: Next time transport it in a container with the package intact or buy it here if possible.

Me: Got it.

2 Officers: Also you had suspicious looking pills. You had pills in a bottle but you also had pills in small plastic baggies. That was also suspicious.

Me: Oh those are salt tablets...
I'm sure it's funny NOW, but not so funny then. ;-)

- SD


  1. Wow. Good thing there was no cavity search.

  2. Thanks for the warning--you guys can take credit for saving someone from missing their flight for sure. I posted this little story on Rick's blog too:

    I got pulled over for going straight through a right-turn only lane that surprised me driving through Livermore after Ohlone last year. The officer saw my grimy shirt and race number and asked if I just ran a race. He was impressed with my answer of 31 miles over the hills from Fremont and let me off with an urging to be more careful and a congratulations.

    But then again, I didn't have any suspicious packets of white powder on me...

  3. Thanks for reposting and spreading the word Scott. Don't give them any excuse to detain you. A couple of friends commented that you should have the freedom to package things the way you want them. Well sure, they'll let you go if all's good and clean but I doubt they'll pay to rebook your ticket if you miss your flight. God forbid you bought them through Cheap Tickets or a similar outfit.


  4. Good lessons, Rick! Thanks for sharing, and for letting me point to your blog entry. ;-)


  5. Rick just didn't look right after Bighorn, I flew from same airport same time same packets - and nothing...may be it's him? :)
    On a serious note, I was searched at SFO on my stop-over to Silver State and they didn't even like the gels and Albuterol inhaler, forget all those (same) packets. They said if I put it in baggage I'd be better off, but I prefer to carry all the neccessary stuff with me, just in case (so I don't end up buying everything like you did in Reno:)) Just arrive early enough to not miss a flight with a search and questioning.


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