Boston Marathon

2021 Boston Marathon Has New Winner After Doping Charge Is Upheld, Runner Banned

Diana Kipyokei was found to have taken a metabolite of triamcinolone acetonide, according to the Monaco-based Athletics Integrity Unit

The 2021 Boston Marathon has a new women's winner as of Tuesday, after the runner who crossed the finish line first was confirmed to have been doping.

Kenyan marathoner Diana Kipyokei has been banned for six years and stripped of her 2021 Boston Marathon title for doping and tampering, the Athletics Integrity Unit said Tuesday. She had been suspended in October amid the organization's investigation.

The move makes Edna Kiplagat a two-time Boston Marathon winner, the Boston Athletic Association said. Kiplagat won the 2017 race, but finished 23 seconds behind Kipyokei in 2021, making her major marathon debut.

"It's a great day," Kipyokei said after her victory.

The Boston Marathon made a triumphant return from a pandemic-enforced break — in the fall, for the first time — and it brought back some familiar and powerful emotions.

"The Boston Athletic Association supports strict anti-doping measures to ensure fair competition and clean sport," the marathon organizer said Tuesday.

Kipyokei was found to have taken a metabolite of triamcinolone acetonide, an anti-inflammatory that's on the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances, unless the athlete has a doctor's permission, according to the Monaco-based Athletics Integrity Unit. The AIU said Kipyokei “provided false/misleading information” in trying to explain her use of the substance, “including fake documentation which she alleged came from a hospital.”

Kipyokei provided the sample with the banned substance after the race on Oct. 11, 2021.

Triamcinolone acetonide is a kind of glucocorticoid. While those substances are used therapeutically, some applications of them are banned in competitions over "clear evidence of systemic effects which could potentially enhance performance and be harmful to health," according to the Athletics Integrity Unit. Athletes found to have glucocorticoids in their system need to have gotten an exemption ahead of time.

The AIU also announced that a second Kenyan marathoner, Purity Rionoripo, has received a five-year ban for similar offenses. Rionoripo won the 2017 Paris Marathon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

NBC/The Associated Press
Contact Us