Kenyan marathon champion Rita Jeptoo has been hit with a two-year ban from her sport after testing positive for a banned substance, her country's athletic commission announced on Friday.
The news is huge in the world of running, which has seen the 33-year-old Jeptoo win the Boston Marathon three times. She set Boston's course record in 2014 with a time of 2 hours, 18.57 minutes .
Jeptoo also won the Boston Marathon in 2006 and 2013. She coupled her '13 and '14 Boston wins with Chicago Marathon titles in each of those falls.
Jeptoo had been provisionally suspended late last year after her first sample proved positive for EPO, a blood-boosting hormone. She asked for a second sample to be checked and that test was also positive. Jeptoo had a hearing in mid-January before this ruling was released.
Jeptoo's samples came from an out-of-competition event in Kenya on Sept. 25, a few weeks before the Chicago race. Boston Marathon officials told the Boston Globe that she passed her test after the 2014 marathon.
"Athletics Kenya followed due process in her (Rita Jeptoo) matter and it was appropriate that she serves a two-year ban," AK chief executive Isaac Kamande told Reuters. J
Jeptoo, provisionally suspended from athletics after the A sample proved positive, had asked for a B check which also tested positive for a banned substance.
She could not be reached for comment on Friday.
Kenyan runners have been increasingly involved in doping scandals. Two runners received two-year bans in December and Kenya's antidoping system has fallen under criticism for not being consistent or thorough.
“The reputation of our sportsmen and women has been tainted beyond any imagination,” Kenya's two-time Olympic gold medalist Kipchoge Keino said in the Boston Globe earlier this month.
Jeptoo faces likely forfeiture of her 2014 titles and might have to repay the $150,000 she received for winning the Boston Marathon and $25,000 bonus for setting the course record. Payment of her $500,000 prize for winning the World Marathon Majors title the last two years had been suspended pending the resolution of her case.
Doping hasn't just been a problem among Kenyan marathon runners. Russia's Liliya Shobukhova received a two-year doping ban last April. She won Chicago three straight years from 2009-11.
- - - - - - -