The 'Queen of the Marathon' doped her way to victory

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Aaron Schachter: I am Aaron Schachter with The World. Sports Fans here in Boston, got some disappointing news today. No, nothing to do with the Patriots this time. We're talking about three-time Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo of Kenya. A queen of Marathon some call her. While she's been banned from the sport for two years for doping. Two recent samples of her blood tested positive for the blood booster EPO. Before Tom Brady came to town, we knew all about sports disappointment here in Boston. Now, let's hear what this news means to a Kenyan Nephat Maritim hails from a Rift Valley, a region in Kenya, that's produced some of the top runners on the planet. He is currently a senior at Harvard University, and runs middle distance for the [??] and Track team.

 

Nephat Maritim: I've been following this story for well, around the time for the Newyork Marathon, and I was very anxious at the very beginning and as I saw the story develop, I sort of ended up expecting it to happen-

 

Schachter: To go badly?

 

Maritim: Yes, yes. They rarely make mistakes when they test these things. When the A sample showed positive, I thought why? I really hope this is a mistake, but as I went into the B sample, by the time it came through I was just like, oh I had fine.

 

Schachter: Just kinda resigned to what happened?

 

Maritim: Yes.

 

Schachter: You know this is a big deal here for us in Massachusetts in Boston, because she's done so well here in the Boston Marathon, and we all love watching her. I go out every year and see you know, from the elite runners to a few waves back and so its disappointing. But, from a Kenyan perspective, she must be a superstar there right? She's sort of our Lance Armstrong or something?

 

Maritim: She is. She is. But, she is not the only one. Even though she stands out when they come to race in Europe, she is one of what about 5 runners who are able to do as well as she is doing. So, I mean you look at the elite running list for like the upcoming marathons, you know London, Boston, Tokyo, and she's not featured in many of those, and it doesnt feel like its absent.

 

Schachter: Because they are so many?

 

Maritim: Because they are so many people who are so talented that if anyone makes a mistake she can be rendered completely irrelevant very soon.

 

Schachter: So I guess in that sense she's not like our Lance Armstrong right? We had the guy, the one guy doing the Tour de France.

 

Maritim: Yes, I mean the thing with Kenyan runners is that their flames burn so bright for as long as they can sustain it, and for Rita I think it burnt brightly after the winds in Boston and Chicago, and then as soon as the doping scandal came up it went off.

 

Schachter: She's done?

 

Maritim: She's done.

 

Schachter: The ban now, the getting caught for doping obviously calls into question Rita Jeptoo's past performance right? Was she doping or was she not? I wonder if you feel maybe as a runner from Kenya if this was kind of tames everyone?

 

Maritim: Given the glorious history of Kenyan running, Kenyan running is mild blowing by any standard. If you look at the statistics, the number of people who are running performing at levels that are unheard of in most parts of the world-

 

Schachter: And winning?

 

Maritim: Yes, and right now in Kenya if you are a two ten, two hours ten minutes marathon runner, that's about 5 minutes per mile, or straightly under.

 

Schachter: You're slow.

 

Maritim: You're very slow. You're not even going to be recognized by anybody. So, in that sense I think people will start to doubt Kenyan running.

 

Schachter: And do you face this kind of this questioning?

 

Maritim: I dont myself because I am not at the very top within Kenyan running, but I know for sure that when the news broke out and the runners were preparing for the Newyork Marathon, the runners who were going to run the following day in the marathon were in very low spirits.

 

Schachter: Right, because they were tainted?

 

Maritim: Exactly, because they felt like there fans would not be able to celebrate their perfomaces as well as they would if they believe this was pure athletic performace.

 

Schachter: Kenyan Marathon, Nephat Maritim, he is currently a Track Athlete and Senior at Harvard University.