Runner Rita Jeptoo Tests Positive for Banned Substance

World Marathon Majors postpones award ceremonies

Oct 31, 2014
Outside Magazine

Kenyan marathoner Rita Jeptoo tested positive for EPO in September.    BU Interactive News/Flickr

Rita Jeptoo, the Kenyan long-distance runner who holds the current women’s record for the Boston Marathon, tested positive in September for a banned substance, the World Marathon Majors organization announced Friday. The result was for her A sample; Jeptoo’s B sample will now be tested.

“WMM has always held a stern line on drugs cheats and has been proactively supporting the sports governing bodies to ensure the integrity of the athletes competing in their races,” WMM general counsel Nick Bitel said in a statement. “Cheats need to understand that they are not welcome in our sport and that they will be caught.”

Established in 2006, the WMM has awarded a World Marathon Majors Series title, with a $500,000 purse, to the world’s top male and female marathoners every two years. Although no sanctions have been announced against Jeptoo, who clinched the series title regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s New York City Marathon, the awards ceremony, due to take place that day, has been postponed. (The WMM has a firm policy of prohibiting athletes from winning a series title if they have been in breach of IAAF anti-doping rules.)

Over the past 10 years, Jeptoo has emerged as one of the most gifted runners in marathon history. She took first place in the women’s competition at marathons in Stockholm and Milan in 2004, placed seventh in the marathon world championships in 2005, and won both the Boston and Chicago marathons in 2013 and 2014. This past April, Jeptoo set a new course record in Boston with a time of 2:18:57.