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The legendary Arthur Lydiard training program is often misunderstood, even by people who believe that they fully understand his methodology.

Einstein’s parable of quantum insanity, “trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result (each time),” may be at play here. The Athletics Integrity Unit’s (AIU) job is to manage the integrity of the sport of athletics. The AIU is wholly independent of World Athletics and harbours total authority. The AIU is the first of its kind in the world of sports. It is a sad indictment of the sport that the AIU was created.

The AIU has done great work, however, Kenyan athletes are not getting the message.

According to World Athletics President, Sebastian Coe, “The Athletics Integrity Unit will support athletes in making the right decisions and choices throughout your careers. It will help each of you to know the rules, gain knowledge and experience and share that knowledge and experience with confidence.”

Money speaks loudest for anyone desperately in need, no matter how morally corrupt stealing may be; it’s survival first, rules second.

For example, Kenyan Diana Kipyokei has been banned for six years and had her 2021 Boston Marathon win annulled. The Kenyan tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). She also provided doping control officers with false information. She is one of roughly 30 or more athletes banned from Kenya in 2022. Some media are guessing that between 60 and 70 athletes are currently serving suspensions from the East African nation.

The 28-year-old returned a positive test for a metabolite of triamcinolone acetonide (a corticosteroid) from a sample taken after she had won the 2021 Boston Marathon.

Triamcinolone acetonide, is a banned substance in competitive sports, as it reduces weight and increases strength and endurance. Several Kenyan marathon runners have been found to have taken the drug. It is more typically used to treat skin issues.

Kipyokei provided misleading information, “including fake documentation which she alleged came from a hospital,” according to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

She chose not to appeal the charges.

Kipyokei won Boston in the time of 2:24:45, beating fellow Kenyan Edna Kiplagat by 24 seconds. Edna Kiplagat, who was age 41 at the time, has been upgraded to the champion position. The win makes Kiplagat the oldest runner to win the Boston Marathon dating back to 1897.

Kipyokei is the second Boston Marathon winner to be stripped of their title. Fellow Kenyan Rita Jeptoo also had her 2014 win disqualified for doping as well as her New York title.

She holds a personal best of 2:22:06 from the 2020 running of the Istanbul Marathon. Her 10K road best is 30:23, while her half-marathon pb is 67:07 from the 2018 Valencia Half Marathon.

Kipyokei’s six-year period of ineligibility, started on June 27, 2022 (the date on which she was provisionally suspended by the AIU), while her results have been disqualified since and including October 11, 2021.

Kenya recently escaped a nationwide ban by the World Athletics Council. The council met in Rome for two days at the end of November and decided on a number of issues, one of them being the Kenyan doping situation. They decided to put more resources into helping Kenya stamp out the doping scourge.

If the AIU has absolute power, perhaps it should be given the ability to suspend a nation that is on the Category-A watch list and has hit a certain number of doping positives.

Second marathon runner suspended

The AIU also announced that fellow Kenyan marathon runner Purity Rionoripo has received a five-year ban for similar offences.

Rionoripo won the 2017 Paris Marathon and finished second at the World Cross Country Championships.

Rionoripo’s sample taken in May during an out-of-competition test, which revealed the presence of furosemide, which is a diuretic.

“In her explanation, she claimed to have been prescribed medication by a doctor at a hospital to treat an ankle injury and presented supporting documentation. However, investigations revealed that, though Rionoripo was treated at the hospital, she had altered her prescription form to include Lasix [the commercial name for furosemide],” the AIU said.

Rionoripo could have been banned for six years but received a one-year reduction “due to an early admission and acceptance of the sanction,” the AIU said.