While fans struggle to make sense of recent doping revelations, athletes in the sport have had to deal with their doubts for years.
By Sarah Lorge Butler;
Image by Steve Baccon / Getty Images Published March 30, 2015 When Cheaters Win Podium
Shalane Flanagan started the 2014 Boston Marathon with a 5:11 first mile. She had made no secret that winning Boston, the race she had watched as a child, was the dream that drove her—and she figured an honest pace from the gun was the best way to achieve it.
In close pursuit that day was defending champion Rita Jeptoo, 33, of Kenya. She stuck to Flanagan through torrid splits: 32:34 for 10K, 1:09:27 through the half. In the Newton Hills, Flanagan fell back while Jeptoo dropped a 4:48 for mile 24. Her winning time was 2:18:57, a new course record.
Even though she ran a PR by more than 3 minutes and posted the fastest American time (2:22:02) ever on the Boston course, Flanagan’s efforts were good for only seventh place. “I don’t wish it was easier,” she said after the race. “I just wish I were better.”
Perhaps she didn’t have to be. On Oct. 31, the running world learned what might have been behind Jeptoo’s otherworldly performances—which included a repeat Chicago Marathon title last fall—when news broke that she had failed an out-of-competition drug test in September. In December, her “B” sample confirmed the finding.