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Sunday 01, Mar 2015

  AWMM To Feature Unprecedented Anti-Doping Protocols

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Organizers of the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AWMM) have released details of a new race series format that will be launched at the Tokyo Marathon.

The event marked the official start of the Abbott’s title sponsorship of the series. It will see the introduction of a new one-year cycle of qualifying races featuring what is described by AWMM as unprecedented anti-doping protocols.

The series that included the Boston, Tokyo, BMW Berlin, Virgin Money London, TCS New York City, and Bank of America Chicago Marathons already has a policy under which no athlete is eligible to win the AWMM Championship title if he or she is found guilty of any anti-doping rules that are enforced by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), any of the individual AWMM races, or national federations.

Starting from 2015, the anti-doping efforts have been stepped up with the AWMM creating a pool of championship-eligible runners who will be undergoing additional out-of-competition drug testing. The AWMM will also be adjusting prize money payments that will be adjusted for taking advantage of long-term biological mapping of athletes. From now on, the $500,000 awarded each to the male and the female champion will not be a one-time lump sum affair but it will be paid out over the course of five years at $100,000 each year.

World Marathon Majors suffered its most dramatic doping setback when Kenyan marathon runner Rita Jeptoo tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO), a blood-boosting steroid. Jeptoo was banned for two years by Athletics Kenya, effective from 30 October 2014 to 29th October 2016, after her A and B samples revealed the presence of EPO.

In 2014, Jeptoo set the course record in Boston Marathon with a time of 2 hours, 18.57 minutes. Jeptoo, a winner of the Chicago Marathon twice and Boston Marathon thrice, is now ruled out of the World Championship in Beijing this summer but also the Rio Olympics in 2016. Any financial reward earned by Rita Jeptoo, as a result of her winning the 2013/14 World Marathon Majors, has already been rescinded. The Kenyan athlete faces possible forfeiture of her 2014 titles and could be asked to repay the $15,000 she received for conquering the Boston Marathon and the $25,000 bonus for setting the course record.

Erythropoietin is a protein hormone used by athletes and bodybuilders to enhance performance. The hormone, which is produced by the kidney, stimulates the production of red blood cells in the body when it gets released into the blood stream. It is worthwhile to note here that Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) have been used in endurance sports like boxing, cycling, horseracing, rowing, race walking, cross country skiing, distance running, Mixed Martial Arts, cross country skiing, and triathlon. Medically used to treat anemia, EPO can increase oxygen carrying capacity of the body. In addition to these distinctive advantages, Erythropoietin is also beneficial to speed up the process of wound healing. It also plays a critical role in response of the brain to neuronal injury and can improve absorption of iron by suppressing hepcidin (a hormone). Erythropoietin is also useful in stimulating angiogenesis and stimulating proliferation of smooth muscle fibers.

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Tuesday 03, Feb 2015

  Rita Jeptoo Banned For Two Years

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Athletics Kenya has announced that Rita Jeptoo, winner of the Boston and Chicago marathons, has banned for two years after she failed a drugs test.

The 33-year-old marathon runner from Kenya, a three-time winner of the Boston Marathon and two-time winner of the Chicago Marathon, tested positive for the blood-boosting drug Erythropoietin (EPO). Both her A and B samples tested positive. Erythropoietin is a protein hormone that is produced by the kidney and has the ability to stimulate the production of red blood cells in the body when released into the blood stream. EPO is commonly used by long-distance runners and cyclists to increase the oxygen carrying capacity of the body.

Jeptoo, in her defense, said the banned substances may have originated from a drug that she prescribed to take by a local hospital after a minor road accident. The samples of Jeptoo came from an out-of-competition event in Kenya on September 25, a few weeks before the Chicago race.

Jeptoo won the Boston Marathon three times. The Marathon Queen set Boston’s course record in 2014 with a time of 2 hours, 18.57 minutes and she also won the Boston Marathon in 2006 and 2013. Jeptoo coupled her Boston Marathon 2013 and 2014 wins with Chicago Marathon titles in each of those falls.

Jeptoo has been suspended from all forms of competition up until October 29, 2016 that rule her out of the world championships in Beijing this summer and the Rio Olympics the following year. Financial rewards associated with winning the 2013/14 World Marathon Majors have already been rescinded.

According to a statement from Athletics Kenya (AK), Jeptoo will miss out on the Rio Olympics. It was remarked that Athletics Kenya would like to confirm that it has suctioned Jeptoo for two years effective from October 30, 2014 to October 29, 2016 follow the results of sample A and B sample having used the prohibited substance EPO. AK president, Isaiah Kiplagat said, that is the end of this case and we are now looking forward to working with the government’s Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya in partnering to fight doping in our sport.

The coach and agent of Rita Jeptoo will not be sanctioned. With the doping ban, the marathon champion will be be stripped of her titles and earnings in the period under review and will also lose out on the 500,000 U.S. dollars World Marathon Majors series jackpot she won after conquering back-to-back victories at the Boston and Chicago marathons in 2013 and 2014.

Wilfred Bungei, the retired Beijing 2008 Olympics champion, said our runners should not take the short route to success and he hopes this will serve a lesson to those who want to follow in her path to stop using drugs such as EPO which are deliberate since they are injected. Wilson Kipsang, the former world marathon record holder, said it wasn’t good news especially to athletes who have been running at the top with good times and added it is  something government should go deep and intervene to ensure it doesn’t happen again because it doesn’t portray a good image to our country.

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Monday 03, Nov 2014

  Kenyan Marathon Champion Fails To Clear Preliminary Doping Test

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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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Monday 05, May 2014

  Liliya Shobukhova Banned For Doping

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Liliya Shobukhova Banned For Doping

Liliya Shobukhova, the second fastest female marathon runner of all time, has received a doping ban of two years from the Russian athletics federation.

The Russian athlete was banned for abnormalities in her biological passport. Russian Athletics announced all her results since October 9, 2009 have been annulled. This means her marathon best of two hours 18 minutes and 20 seconds, which was set in winning in Chicago in 2011, will be wiped from the record books. Shobukhova’s suspension is backdated to January 24, 2013 and will end on January 23, 2015. The biological passport can be used to trace fluctuations in hematocrit, hemoglobin, and red blood cell counts and is also effective for tracing changes in testosterone, epitestosterone, and testosterone/epitestosterone ratio that are possible indicators of steroid use.

One of the most successful marathon runners in history, Liliya Bulatovna Shobukhova previously specialized in the 3000 and 5000 meters track events and has been lately competing in marathon races. Shobukhova is the current European record holder in the 3000 m and 5000 m. Shobukhova may be stripped of her 2009, 2010, and 2011 Chicago Marathon victories, as well as her 2010 London Marathon win. Shobukhova will have to repay her prize and appearance money from these London and Chicago races.

Nick Bitel, General Counsel of World Marathon Majors, said WMM will continue to hold a stern line and supports all measures to ensure the integrity of the athletes competing in their races and added that cheats need to understand that they are not welcome in our sport and that they will be caught. Shobukhova has a right to appeal the Federation decision.

Shobukhova won the Philadelphia Distance Run and set a half marathon best of 1:10:21 after representing Russia in the women’s 5000 meters at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In October 2009, she was the female winner of the Chicago Marathon and finished in a time of 2:25:56 and was the female winner of the 2010 London Marathon by finishing in a time of 2:22:00. In October 2010, Shobukhova took the 2009–2010 World Marathon Majors jackpot of $500,000 US dollars with a Russian record of 2:20:25 for the marathon. Shobukhova finished as runner-up last April in London and became the first athlete, man or woman, to win Chicago three years in a row. She is the second-fastest woman in history and is behind only Paula Radcliffe.

Hugh Brasher, the London Marathon race director, said in a statement that London Marathon is at the forefront of the fight against doping in our sport and we are very proud to have been the first major marathon to introduce blood testing for all of our elite competitors, prior to each event. He added this mandatory blood testing commenced at the London Marathon in 2002 and has continued with all our elite competitors throughout and went on to remark that as one of the world’s leading marathons, we continue to work very closely with UK Anti-Doping, the IAAF and WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) with the aim of eradicating drug taking in our sport.

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Saturday 23, Feb 2013

  Tougher Anti-Doping Penalties Introduced By Marathon Majors

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Tougher Anti-Doping Penalties Introduced By Marathon Majors

The organizers of the World Marathon Majors (WMM), the series that brings together six of the world’s top races, said on Friday that stricter anti-doping penalties will be applied to elite athletes.

Elite athlete contracts have been collectively revised by Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York to include new provisions that include the right to suspend payment and demand repayments of prize money, appearance fees, and performance bonuses. WMM said in a statement, the sanctions will be triggered for any athlete “found in violation of a criminal offense involving drugs, anti-doping rules, or if for any other reason the athlete’s result has been nullified by a relevant governing body.”

The new provisions in WMM elite athlete contracts will include that the athlete acknowledges that his/her right to receive payment is conditional upon remaining fully compliant with all applicable anti-doping rules. Also, if the athlete is found – before, during or after the term of the agreement- to have committed a criminal offense involving drugs, or an anti-doping rule violation, or if for any other reason the athlete’s result in the marathon is later nullified by a relevant governing body, then the marathon organizers will have the right to reduce or suspend payments due to the athlete, or to terminate the agreement with immediate effect and the right to repayment from athlete of all or part of the money paid to the athlete under the agreement.

The move was applauded by the women’s world record holder Paula Radcliffe and she hopes all major events would follow suit. Radcliffe remarked the cheaters need to understand that they are not welcome in our sport and will be caught and made to pay and this announcement is a step forward in increasing the deterrent and showing athletes and managers that cheating won’t be tolerated. She went on to add that having to pay back all money won while cheating is common sense and a logical element that has been missing for a long time and it is clear that any money won while cheating are tantamount to fraud and should be returned.

On Sunday, Tokyo is making its WMM debut with Kenyan Dennis Kimetto holding the fastest time in the men’s field while compatriot Michael Kipyego is the defending champion. In 2006, the Marathon Majors series was founded with the men’s and women’s winners each receiving $500,000 in prize money at the end of a two-year cycle. The World Marathon Majors said it has supported increased and more frequent out-of-competition drug tests in Kenya and Ethiopia, the two countries which provide a majority of top competitors. Any athlete found guilty of a doping offense will not be invited back to their races, all the six member marathons have agreed.

Last week, Kenya’s three-times world 3,000 meters steeplechase champion Moses Kiptanui said doping was taking place in Kenyan running camps. In the past, allegations that athletes from Kenya were using drugs surfaced ahead of last year’s London Olympics when German television broadcaster ARD reported systematic doping by elite athletes in the country who train at camps in the Rift Valley region.

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