Abbott World Marathon Majors (AWMM) announced Wednesday that it’s teaming up with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to increase its out-of-competition drug testing of athletes taking part in AWMM races. The expanded protocol is set to launch this summer, according to an AWMM statement.
The AWMM, whose member races include top marathons like Boston, New York, and Tokyo, says this is the largest anti-doping effort undertaken by a private athletic organization. Measures were announced in late February and apply to championship-eligible marathon runners. The new athlete criteria for testing will encompass any elite runners who have earned AWMM points in the past three years, any female runner who posted a 2:27:00 finish or better, any male participant who posted a 2:11:00 finish or better, and basically any athlete whom the two organizations deem fit for inclusion in the testing pool. The AWMM estimates the pool will consist of about 150 elite runners; everyone must comply with testing if they hope to receive any prize money. These measures are on top of any already in place by national and international agencies.
“The race directors of the AWMM are determined to eradicate cheating in our events,” Nick Bitel, AWMM general counsel, said in the statement. “We believe that this new testing pool initiative, set up in conjunction with the IAAF, is a major step forward in achieving our aim.”
Runner’s World reports that the expanded testing is due in part to the cases of Russian marathoner Liliya Shobukhova and Kenyan Rita Jeptoo. Shobukhova, a three-time Chicago Marathon winner and two-time women’s series champion, had anomalies in her biological passport. Jeptoo, who won marathons in Boston and Chicago each of the past two years, tested positive for the blood booster EPO last fall and received a two-year ban in January.