Two-time Rotterdam Marathon champion banned three years for EPO

The 2016 and 2019 Rotterdam Marathon champion, Marius Kipserem, was given a three-year doping ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit on Thursday for the use of erythropoietin (EPO), which is a breach of the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules.

The 34-year-old becomes the 15th Kenyan athlete to receive a doping-related sanction since July. Kipserem was also one of Eliud Kipchoge’s 41 pacers at the INEOS-1:59 Challenge in 2019. He has a personal best of 2:04:04 from the 2021 Rotterdam Marathon, where he was the runner-up. 

According to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), Kipserem’s urine sample collected in an out-of-competition test conducted on Aug. 17 in Kapsabet, Kenya tested positive for EPO, a hormone that promotes red blood cell production, which improves endurance.

All of Kipserem’s results have been disqualified dating to Aug. 17. He last ran at the 2022 Blackmores Sydney Marathon in Australia on Sept. 18, where he placed sixth in 2:13:40. Kipserem trains with Rosa e Associati, Nike-sponsored training group in Kenya, alongside half-marathon world record holder Jacob Kiplimo and 2021 Chicago champion Seifu Tura. Lawrence Chrono and Emmanuel Saina, who both received doping bans this year, were also part of the group. 

Kipserem is the third INEOS-1:59 pacer to recieve a doping ban. Philemon Kacheran and Alex Korio were the first two athletes from the challenge to be handed bans from the AIU. 

Kipserem’s ban comes just days after two other Kenyan athletes were suspended by the AIU for doping-related charges. He is the fifth Kenyan athlete to receive sanctions in the last 30 days and the 52nd Kenyan who is currently serving a suspension. 

According to Kenyan newspaper The Standard, Athletics Kenya held an anti-doping educational forum alongside the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) on Tuesday in Eldoret. The ADAK called upon Athletics Kenya and government agencies to partner with them and educate athletes on the dangers and prevention of doping. 

posted Thursday October 20th
by Marley Dickinson