Kenya's Rita Jeptoo, a three-time winner of the Boston Marathon and two-time Chicago Marathon champion, has received a two-year doping ban.
The 33-year-old Jeptoo won the Boston Marathon three times and set Boston's course record in 2014 with a time of 2 hours, 18.57 minutes. Jeptoo has already been denied her share of the $500,000 prize for winning the 2013/14 World Marathon Majors, according to ESPN. She was to be crowned the best marathoner in the world in 2014 by the World Marathon Majors before the news of her positive test emerged.
The marathon runner tested positive for the blood-booster EPO in an out-of-competition test last September, only a few weeks after she won her second straight Chicago Marathon title. Both her "A" and "B" samples were positive. Erythropoietin, or EPO, stimulates the production of red blood cells and is commonly used by cyclists and elite runners to gain a distinctive edge over peers.
It was announced by Athletics Kenya on Friday that Rita Jeptoo was suspended from all competition until October 29, 2016 that means she is ruled out of this year's world championships in Beijing and next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The runner has the right to appeal her sanction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Shalane Flanagan, the top American woman finisher in Boston last year, remarked that she does not feel that a ban of two years is enough. Flanagan remarked her stance on anyone caught cheating or doping is that they should receive a lifetime ban. She added studies have shown that someone who has tested positive for something like EPO, which Rita apparently has used, have benefits that go beyond just the usage and also said if she used EPO for a number of years, she was able to train at a much higher level during those years. Flanagan praised the efforts of the World Marathon Majors and said even if Rita does come back and competes, she does not believe she will be invited back to any of the World Major Marathons.
Flanagan's views were echoed by Meb Keflezighi, the men's winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon, who remarked that he is in support of a lifetime ban for any athlete that tests positive for doping.
Two-time women's marathon world champion Edna Kiplaga said Jeptoo's positive test has made it very difficult for us and added we keep on being asked about doping every time we go to compete out there, and she is hoping that her punishment will make others stop engaging in this bad thing. Kiplaga added she hopes the ban imposed on Rita will deter Kenyan athletes to stop taking shortcuts and added it will be a lesson for others. Edna Kiplaga also remarked that it is unfortunate since nobody wants anyone to be banned and if you take something like EPO, which is injected as a professional athlete, it is obvious you know what you are putting in your body.
In a statement, Tom Grilk, executive director of the Boston Athletic Association, said we are deeply disappointed in the findings involving Rita Jeptoo, and we are committed to upholding the integrity and credibility of the Boston Marathon.