In a week rife with doping news, the Associated Press reports that Boston and Chicago Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo’s “B” sample has returned positive. Athletics Kenya had previously admitted to the AFP that the banned substance was the glycoprotein hormone erythropoietin (EPO).
Jeptoo, who set a course record in April with her third Boston Marathon win, also won the overall World Marathon Majors title in the two-year contesting period of 2013 to 2014. But prior to the $500,000 prize being awarded, RunBlogRun.com announced on October 31 that the Kenyan athlete’s “A” sample had tested positive for a banned substance. She requested her “B” sample tested on November 5, according to the Australian AP.
In a press conference during the New York City Marathon in November, Jeptoo’s agent, Federico Rosa, and coach Claudio Berardelli both claimed they were unaware of the offense, according to Runner’s World. “I see what is going on in Kenya, how many athletes have been caught,” Rosa said, according to Runner’s World. “I don’t think agents are behind it. I think it’s more on their own.”
Seventeen Kenyan runners have tested positive for banned substances in 2013 and 2014, according to the Kenyan paper Standard. That’s the largest number of positives in the country’s history and raises questions about the previously unquestioned dominance of East African distance runners.