Rita Jeptoo, winner of the Boston and Chicago marathons for the past two years, has tested positive for a banned substance, according to the World Marathon Majors that represents the world’s six most prominent marathons.

The 33-year-old Jeptoo won back-to-back titles at the Boston Marathon, where she set the course record on April 21 in 2:18:57. She won the Chicago Marathon on October 12 in 2 hours, 24 minutes, 35 seconds, which was her fourth straight major marathon victory. The Kenyan runner presently leads the World Marathon Majors series. Jeptoo is by far the most prominent runner from Kenya to have failed a doping test. She won Boston marathon three times and Chicago marathon twice. Jeptoo failed a doping test a few weeks before she won her second consecutive Chicago Marathon, her agent and national federation said.

Jeptoo’s agent Federico Rosa said the athlete tested positive in an out-of-competition test in Kenya in September. The test was conducted on September 25 and the athlete’s “A” sample “indicated the presence of prohibited substances”, said Athletics Kenya. The athletic governing body of Kenya added it was disappointed to announce that we have received communication from IAAF that Rita Jeptoo failed a test.

The medical and anti-doping commission of Athletics Kenya will meet with the athlete early this week to find out whether Jeptoo wants to have her backup “B” sample tested. Jeptoo’s agent however remarked the backup test was not required. Rosa added we will legally go after the person or the people that convinced Rita to do this and added Jeptoo’s management had “nothing to do with” any doping. In a statement, the IAAF remarked it was not in a position where it can confirm or deny Jeptoo’s positive doping test. The IAAF said the case remains in the confidentiality phase although that should be lifted within the next week.

Earlier Friday, the World marathon group said it had postponed the awards’ ceremony that was scheduled for Sunday due to the positive test. The group said no athlete can win the World Marathon Majors Series title who has been in breach of IAAF anti-doping rules. Jeptoo was to receive a check for $500,000 for winning the World Marathon Majors after the New York City Marathon. George Hirsch, chairman of the board of New York Road Runners, said the stakes are so high and added it is far more money than almost anybody in that country could earn in a lifetime while referring to the temptation to use banned substances in a country such as Kenya.

On Jeptoo’s positive test, marathon world record holder and former world champion Paula Radcliffe said it shows that testing is being carried out and added maybe at least this time it comes before the (World Marathon Majors) payment is made.

Her coach Claudio Berardelli said the doping test failure of Jeptoo is indicative of a larger problem in Kenya. Berardelli, who has coached Jeptoo since 2012, said it is bad for the reputation of the sport in that country. Berardelli added if the story of Rita can be the key to open the door of the dirty system, please let Rita pay for it.

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