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Marathon Runner Jeptoo's 'B' Sample Positive
From the Wall Street Journal of Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:06:16 EST
Rita Jeptoo of Kenya celebrates winning the Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014, her third victory there.
Rita Jeptoo of Kenya celebrates winning the Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014, her third victory there. Getty Images

A second biological sample from marathon champion Rita Jeptoo has tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug, Kenya’s athletics federation announced Friday.

The second test confirmed results that became public in October, just days before Jeptoo was scheduled to collect a $500,000 prize for winning the 2013-14 World Marathon Majors Series, which includes the Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City marathons.

Federico Rosa, Jeptoo’s agent, said that Jeptoo will try to defend herself at an upcoming hearing but he expects her to be given a lengthy suspension.

“I hope now she will cooperate to help find the people that supplied this to her,” Rosa said. “That’s the only thing she can do now.”

This year, Jeptoo, 33, won the Boston Marathon in April and the Chicago Marathon in October. It was her second consecutive win in both.

The victory in Boston was especially striking. Jeptoo ran a 2:18:57, shattering the course record by nearly two minutes on a warm day, and nearly eight minutes faster than her winning time in the 2013 race. The 2014 run included a 4:48 mile in the late stages of the race when Jeptoo bolted from the competition.

The result was all the more stunning because American Meb Keflezighi won the men’s race with a relatively slow time of 2:08:37 even though there were seven men in the race who had previously run 2:05:30 or better.

Kenyan authorities said that the test was conducted Sept. 25 and showed traces of the performance-enhancing drug EPO, which improves endurance. The sample was collected by the International Association of Athletics Federations, which recently has begun supplementing testing in Kenya, where PED-testing programs have long been viewed as substandard by international doping officials.

Rosa said that Jeptoo would be able to keep her prize money from winning Boston because the victory came before the test. He said she hasn’t received any prize money from Chicago because of the positive results of the Sept. 25 test, which was administered weeks before the Chicago race.

The WMM award was delayed pending the outcome of the second test. Fellow Kenyan Edna Kiplagat now stands to collect the top prize.

Write to Matthew Futterman at matthew.futterman@wsj.com



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