As of the start of this month, 66 Kenyan athletes were on the Athletics Integrity Unit’s (AIU) global ineligible athlete list for breaching anti-doping rules. At least 45 Kenyan athletes were sanctioned for doping last year – either by the Athletics Integrity Unit or Kenya’s Anti-Doping Agency – including big names such as 2019 Boston and Chicago Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono and Diana Kipyokei, the 2021 Boston Marathon champion, who had her title stripped after failing an in-competition drug test at that race.
Earlier this month, the AIU claimed there was evidence of a “medically-savvy operation” helping Kenyan athletes cheat after similarities in at least two recent tampering cases were discovered amounting to “criminal conduct involving frauds on the AIU”.
That came after the anti-doping body praised the Kenyan Government last month on a 25 million US dollars commitment to clean up the problem via the creation of an Anti-Doping Steering Committee, in conjunction with the AIU, the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) and Athletics Kenya (AK). Kipruto, 30-years-old, returns to defend the London marathon title he won in 2 hours 4 minutes and 39 seconds in October 2022.
This year will be the first time since 2019 that the 26.2-mile race is run in its traditional April slot and will be the first time in history that two men who have run inside two hours and two minutes will be together on the same start line.
Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest man ever with a personal best of 2 hours 1 minute and 41 seconds, and Kenya’s Kelvin Kiptum, who became the fastest marathon debutant in history winning the 2022 Valencia Marathon in 2 hours 1 minute and 53 seconds, will be in the field alongside Kipruto, 2022 world champion Tamirat Tola and four-time Olympic gold medallist on the track Mo Farah.
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Farah, 40-years-old, revealed in January that 2023 was set to be his final year in athletics and confirmed on Thursday that he will not attempt another marathon following this weekend’s race.
The Brit had to pull out of last year’s event with a hip injury, but is happy with his training in Ethiopia ahead of his swansong and also confirmed at Thursday’s media conference that he has no plans to race at August’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.