A message from Nick Bitel, Chief Executive of London Marathon Events
The recent WADA report is truly shocking in its findings of widespread corruption within Russian institutions and the serious failures within the IAAF.
The London Marathon has always been at the forefront of the fight against doping and, over many years, has been the first to put in place stringent testing programmes and sanctions. We have a zero tolerance policy towards doping and athletes who record a positive test with a penalty of more than three months are banned for life from our event.
We pledge to you that we will continue to be at the forefront of anti-doping measures for marathon runners as we are determined to make marathon running a safe haven from doping.
As a member of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, the London Marathon (in a joint initiative with the other five member races) has initiated the most extensive additional out-of-competition testing programme by a private organisation of any sport in the world.
All marathon runners who have run any marathon in a time better than 2:11.00 (men) and 2:27.00 (women) will be subject to a minimum of six additional out-of-competition tests each year. See here for full details.
Over the years, we have been responsible for initiating other major anti-doping measures. In 1999 the London Marathon was the first athletics organisation to call for blood testing but it took until 2002 for the IAAF and other authorities to get this testing in place and it was immediately introduced in London. Since the advent of the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) being introduced to track blood tests over a period of time, these tests have become even more important.
Since 2002 all invited athletes running in London are subject to blood tests in the week before the race and the top three and other random athletes are then subject to urine testing immediately after the event. The London Marathon was the first athletics event anywhere in the world to have blood tests for all of its invited athletes.
In addition, the London Marathon has commenced legal proceedings against Liliya Shubukhova (RUS) whose results were annulled due to a failed test in order to recover money paid to her so that it can be repaid to the athletes who were cheated out of their places by this athlete.
However, we know that we cannot eradicate doping in marathon running on our own. We rely on partnerships with the IAAF and other organisations to deliver the global testing programme.
Lord Coe, the new President of the IAAF, has said that he will take action following the WADA report and we look forward to hearing his plans for prompt and effective action to ensure the integrity of the sport and safeguard the integrity of the global anti-doping programme.