Some thoughts on Kenyan doping
The Kenyan success story keeps on rolling. Yet things are a little more complicated than when I was writing Running with the Kenyans in 2011
It was yet another Kenyan double at the New York City marathon yesterday, with Evans Chebet and Sharon Lokedi (pictured above) winning the men’s and women’s races. Chebet also won the Boston Marathon this year, while Lokedi was running her first ever marathon in New York.
The men’s race was led for a long time by Daniel Do Nascimento, until he collapsed at mile 21. Do Nascimento is Brazilian, but he trains in Kenya. Second in the women’s race was Lonah Chemtai Salpeter* of Israel, who is originally from Kenya.
Yes, the Kenyan marathon domination story keeps on rolling and rolling. Yet things are a little more complicated than they were when I was writing Running with the Kenyans in 2011. Back then, Kenya was no more suspicious when it came to doping than any other country. I told the story of rolling hills, high altitude, legendary coaches, a monk-like dedication, sparse training camps etc etc.
I wasn’t totally naive. Doping existed, I knew that. So I spent two days with the local IAAF drug tester, visiting training camps and taking urine samples from athletes. He was a friendly, chatty guy who certainly showed a little bit of leniency when it came to timekeeping. One time, we arrived at a training camp to be told that the athlete we were looking for was not there, that he was still travelling back from a competition. We found him a few hours later and took a sample.
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