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Olympic marathon silver medalist provisionally suspended

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Eunice Kirwa, the Olympic marathon silver medalist, is provisionally suspended for using EPO.

Kirwa, a 35-year-old from Bahrain (born in Kenya), finished second at the Rio Games behind Kenyan Jemima Sumgong, who is banned until 2027 for using EPO and then lying about it. Sumgong and Kirwa keep their Olympic medals because their doping violations came after the Games.

Ethiopian Mare Dibaba finished third in Rio. Shalane FlanaganDes Linden and Amy Cragg were sixth, seventh and ninth, the first time the U.S. put three women in the top nine at an Olympics.

“After we crossed the finish line, Amy, Shalane and I sat around and chatted about the race,” Linden said in 2017, according to LetsRun.com. “I said it, like, ‘Within one year, we’ll all have bumped up two spots.'”

Kirwa, also the 2015 World Championships bronze medalist, last competed at the 2017 Worlds, where she placed sixth in the marathon.

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Mo Farah, Galen Rupp set fall marathon

Mo Farah, Galen Rupp
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Mo Farah and Galen Rupp will return to the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 13, a sign that Farah will not race on the track at the world championships and that Rupp is progressing well after Achilles tendon surgery.

“My focus for 2019 will be solely on the roads,” was posted on Farah’s Instagram.

Farah and Rupp, former training partners under three-time New York City Marathon winner Alberto Salazar, won the last two Chicago Marathons.

In 2017, Rupp collected his first major marathon victory in the Windy City. Last October, Farah did the same, relegating Rupp to fifth place. Rupp’s Achilles injury flared up near the end of the 26.2 miles, and he underwent surgery later that month.

It appears Farah has opted against going for a Rupp-like double of the 10,000m at the Doha worlds on Oct. 6, then flying to Chicago to race 26.2 miles a week later.

It’s not unthinkable. Rupp placed fifth in the 2016 Olympic 10,000m on Aug. 13, then took bronze in the marathon on Aug. 21.

Rupp may be under some pressure in Chicago to get eligible for the Olympics. Under the current rules, he must run 2:11:30 in Chicago or at the Olympic trials or place in the top 10 in Chicago to meet the Olympic qualifying standard.

Pre-surgery Rupp had no problem with that time. He broke 2:10 in his last four finished marathons, including 2:06:07 and 2:06:11 last year.

Rupp’s teammate at the Nike Oregon Project, Jordan Hasay, previously announced she would run Chicago as she eyes Deena Kastor‘s American record of 2:19:36. Hasay finished third in all three of her marathon starts (all majors), including at Chicago in 2017.

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MORE: U.S. marathon rankings ahead of Olympic trials

Eliud Kipchoge announces special sub-2-hour marathon bid (again)

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OXFORD, England (AP) — Eliud Kipchoge has funding from Britain’s richest man for his bid to break the two-hour marathon barrier again later this year.

The fastest marathon runner of all time announced plans for the record attempt during a visit to the track in Oxford where Roger Bannister ran the first sub-four-minute mile 65 years ago on Monday.

“I want to unlock that thought that there are limitations in the human being,” Kipchoge told The Associated Press at the Iffley Road track. “There are no barriers when you believe in yourself and try and trust in what you are doing.”

The 34-year-old Olympic champion has gained the trust of Jim Ratcliffe, who founded chemicals group INEOS and is estimated by London-based Sunday Times Rich List to be worth 21 billion pounds ($28 billion).

Ratcliffe spent the London Marathon earlier this month in the pace car watching Kipchoge win the event for a record fourth time.

London is where Ratcliffe hopes the Kenyan runner will in September or October be lowering his world record marathon time of 2 hours, 1 minute, 39 seconds — set in Berlin in September — to under two hours.

Kipchoge made an attempt at the Monza motor racing circuit in Italy in May 2017, falling 26 seconds short across 26.2 miles (42.2 kilometers) around an oval track in a time not sanctioned by the IAAF, because of variables such as pacers entering mid-race and drinks being given to runners via mopeds.

This time a parklands circuit could be favored over a road circuit because Ratcliffe anticipates needing dates in London on three consecutive weekends being set aside to ensure the conditions are optimal for Kipchoge.

“If we have it in London it would need to be an iconic location that fulfils the performance criteria that’s flat and has a good surface,” Ratcliffe said after posing with Kipchoge in front of a clock that read “1:59.00.”

According to Ratciffle’s vision, the ideal situation for the attempt would involve a circuit of 2 to 3 kilometers, and a crowd.

“It’s one of those great challenges in the sporting world to try and break two hours,” for the marathon, Ratcliffe told the AP. “If he does succeed it’ll be very inspirational for people. He’s the finest marathon runner the world has ever produced and I think he’s still getting better.”

This is the latest foray into sports for Ratcliffe, who has taken over the Team Sky cycling outfit and renamed it after INEOS.

“We worked for 25-30 years in business and it’s quite successful,” Ratcliffe said. “We can afford to do this and why shouldn’t we really? We’re putting a modest amount in our terms into sport. I think they are good endeavors. We enjoy it and we can.”

There is also a risk. Ratcliffe said he has conducted due diligence into the athletes he is now funding in cycling and athletics — two sports that have grappled with doping issues.

“We probe quite deeply into that,” Ratcliffe said. “I have no interest in cheating.”

Neither does Kipchoge.

“This is the time to prove to the whole world that you can run in a positive way,” Kipchoge said, “and in a clean way and actually make history.”

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MORE: U.S. marathon rankings ahead of Olympic trials