Half marathon record holder Kiptum suspended in doping case

LONDON (AP) — Half marathon world record holder Abraham Kiptum was provisionally suspended for doping on Friday, two days before he was due to run the London Marathon.

The Athletics Integrity Unit, which handles doping cases in track and field, said Kiptum was suspected under the biological passport program, which involves analyzing blood data.

London Marathon organizers said the Kenyan runner has left London.

Kiptum took five seconds off the half marathon record in October when he won in Valencia in 58 minutes, 18 seconds. That record could be erased if it is ruled that his blood data indicated doping at the time.

London Marathon event director Hugh Brasher said stricter testing for marathon runners was paying dividends.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy on doping,” he said. “We recently announced a groundbreaking extensive intelligence-driven testing program. This shows the program is working. Cheats will be caught and there is no place for them in marathon running.”

Kiptum’s suspension is another controversy for the London Marathon after one of its star runners, British four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah, feuded with distance-running great Haile Gebrselassie this week.

Farah has been accused of being involved in two separate physical altercations at a hotel owned by retired runner Gebrselassie in Ethiopia. An athlete told The Associated Press he was punched by Farah and a gym instructor said he was pushed by Farah during the alleged incidents.

Farah had earlier said money, two cellphones and a watch were stolen from his room when he stayed at the hotel. Gebrselassie said Farah left without paying a $3,000 bill.