“Sport is essentially a humanistic endeavor to see how far you can go on your own talent,” this is how Dick Pound, the first president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) described sport. It is the same idea that the fathers of athletics in Athens, Greece had in mind centuries ago when they invented the sport. A marathon is meant to be a test of an individual’s talent or natural potential, competitive spirit, and mental strength. Drugs that enhance these features beyond their natural state are against the original spirit under which athletics as a sport was modeled. This is why the Eldoret City Marathon has a strict stance against doping.
The director of the Eldoret City Marathon, Moses Tanui, has repeatedly warned athletes participating in the marathon to run clean and avoid temptations to dope. Last year, one female athlete who finished within the awards bracket during the 2nd edition of the Eldoret City Marathon was disqualified after test samples taken by the Anti-doping Authority of Kenya (ADAK) after the race returned positive results for doping. The anti-doping stance is just as strict this year particularly considering that Kenya has remained under category A of World Athletics’ watch list for close to five years now.
Being in this list means that Kenyan athletes are watched very closely by the World Athletics Integrity Unit. As a result, Kenya’s athletes are among the most tested in the world. Of greater concern though is the fact that being on the watch list makes Kenya vulnerable to potential exclusion or suspension from international athletics competition, such as the Olympics and world championships if more Kenyan athletes are caught doping. Additionally, more cases of doping might cultivate negative thoughts in the minds of the rest of the world that Kenyan athletes might not be that great after all. The records of our legends might also be blemished by the “sins of their sons”, figuratively speaking, as the more Kenyan athletes are caught doping, the more the authenticity of performances of past champions are put in to doubt.
Thus, the reputation of future, current and past athletes, the reputation of Kenyan athletics, as well as the pride of the nation are at stake if more Kenyan athletes are caught doping. We, therefore, repeat our clarion call to all athletes registering to run in the Eldoret City Marathon – RUN CLEAN! In the words of H.E. Hon. Daniel Chemno, the Deputy Governor of the County Government of Uasin Gishu, the title sponsor of the Eldoret City Marathon, “natural energy is sufficient to make you prosper and be honored, run clean, keep your honor.”