Hot on the heels of last week’s news regarding Ex-VLM and Olympic champion Jemima Sumgong’s doping ban, it’s sad to have to report another example of apparent rule breaking. Sarah Chepchir, who is a former training partner and sister-in-law to Sumgong has been provisionally banned by the Athletics Integrity Unit.
Chepchir won Tokyo marathon in 2017 and holds the course record in 2:19:47. Athletics Kenya President Lt Gen(RTD) Jack Tuwei has said that “We have had conversations with all our athletes and no one is being forced to dope. It’s a personal decision so those found will carry their own cross and face the consequences” and the AIU have quoted the responsibility of the athlete to make sure that no banned substances enter their body and not banned methods are used. So, whilst it is interesting that Chepchir has shared a coach with Sumgong it seems that the finger will always be pointed very much at the individual. Indeed, the AIU say that it is not necessary that intent, fault, negligence or knowing use be proved. I can’t quite see how a provisional bad can become anything less than a full ban given this kind of athlete-centric approach. I can’t make up my mind how to feel about it - obviously it’s terrible that people cheat but what if it’s endemic and expected of athletes - who should be punished the most? Chepchir says herself in an old interview that the live you have to earn money and you only earn money if you win. It’s inexcusable to cheat and I don’t for one second think someone should be given a soft sentence, but perhaps there are others who need to be brought into the spotlight too.
Final word on this goes to The Morning Shakeout’s Mario Fraioli:
Chepchichir’s agent is Federico Rosa—yep, that guy—who represented Sumgong, as well as Rita Jeptoo, the former Boston Marathon champion who got a four-year suspension for doping, Lucy Kabuu, who is currently serving a two-year doping ban (for morphine, of all things), former Olympic 1500m gold medalist Asbel Kiprop, who also got nailed for EPO, and Mathew Kisorio, the 58:46 half marathoner who tested positive for steroids back in 2012. Am I forgetting anyone?
SAMANTHA ROEKER IS ANOTHER FAST NURSE
In covering Emma Bates’ win at CIM back in December I (and it seems others) managed to miss an interesting result. CIM is the US Marathon Championships, Boston qualifying, Oympic Trials qualifying and a fast, paced race. So it always garners some great performances and some up and coming athletes looking to make the next leap. It is one of those ‘unknown’ athletes that RunnersWorld picked up on this week.
3rd placing Samantha Roeker (@Samroeker), like Sarah Sellars (of 2nd in Boston fame) is both unsponsored and a nurse. She talks about her 8 minute PB, training with Emily Sisson (who we mentioned last week as she’ll run her first marathon at London), 100mile weeks, having to be ‘hyper-focused’ and her love of Tracksmith clothing. Check out the article here, it’s a good read.