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The sixth-fastest marathon runner of all time Kenyan, Titus Ekiru, faces a possible 10-year doping and tampering ban according to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).
Ekiru has been charged with four Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs). Two separate charges relating to the detection of prohibited substances in his samples and two separate tampering charges regarding the results-management process in each case.
The @aiu_athletics has provisionally suspended Titus Ekiru (Kenya) for the presence of Prohibited Substances (Triamcinolone Acetonide and metabolite; Pethidine and metabolite) and for Tampering. pic.twitter.com/9cYCrbUcPL— GREAT RIFT ATHLETICS (@greatRIFTsports) July 3, 2023
The 31-year-old tested positive during in-competition tests at the Milan Marathon in May of 2021 and the Abu Dhabi Marathon in Nov. 2021. In Milan it was the synthetic corticosteroid Triamcinolone Acetonide; however, his reason for testing positive seemed to match the outcome. In Abu Dhabi, Ekiru tested positive for Pethidine. The narcotic is similar to morphine in that it alters the brain’s response to pain.
Ekiru broke the Italian all-comers record in the marathon in 2021 with his win. He clocked a 2:02:57 finish time. Only five men have run faster. They are Eliud Kipchoge (3), Kelvin Kiptum (2), and Dennis Kimetto, all from Kenya and Athiopians Birhanu Legesse, Mosinet Geremew and Kenenisa Bekele.
In 2017, Ekiru dropped a whopping eight minutes off his marathon best at the Seville Marathon going from 2:15:43 to 2:07:43. He dropped five minutes by the time he ran Milan in 2019.
Ekiru is provisionally suspended and may appeal the decision. No word has been confirmed whether he must return prize money.
Important assistance was provided by Kenyan authorities.
About the Road Running Integrity Programme: The Athletics Integrity Unit runs an extensive anti-doping programme covering more than 300 professional road runners; at least 150 men and 150 women. The programme’s activities of testing, intelligence, investigation, prosecution and education are funded entirely through contributions from World Athletics, Abbott World Marathon Majors, World Athletics Label Road Races, Athletes and their Athlete Representatives, and running shoe companies: adidas, ASICS and Nike.
About Kenya’s Anti-Doping Programme: In late 2022, the Kenyan Government pledged an additional US$25 million ($5 million annually for five years) to bolster anti-doping activities in Kenyan athletics. A Steering Committee – comprising representatives from the AIU, ADAK, Athletics Kenya (AK) and the Government of Kenya – was established in January 2023 to oversee the project plan and the use of the funds. The AIU will offer expertise across essential functions (testing, investigation, intelligence and education) to assist in capacity building and help enhance the fight against doping in Kenya.