Two-time Peachtree Road Race winner gets six-year ban for doping

Rhonex Kipruto out until 2029.
Rhonex Kipruto wins the 50th AJC Peachtree Road Race with an unofficial record time of 27:01 on Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Atlanta.  Curtis Compton/



Rhonex Kipruto wins the 50th AJC Peachtree Road Race with an unofficial record time of 27:01 on Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/

Kenyan runner Rhonex Kipruto, a two-time winner of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race and course record holder, has been banned for six years in a doping case.

Kipruto, 24, was stripped of his world record in the men’s 10-kilometer road race.

A disciplinary panel ruled that abnormalities in Kipruto’s blood samples pointed to “a deliberate and sophisticated doping regime” and Kipruto likely had help from unknown third parties. At the time, he was aiming to qualify for the last Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The irregularities were found in his Athlete Biological Passport.

The panel imposed a six-year ban because of what it deemed the “aggravating circumstances” in the case, up from a standard four-year doping ban. He will be banned until May 2029.

Kipruto was disqualified from all of his results since September 2018, meaning he loses a world championship bronze medal in the 10,000 meters from 2019 and his 10K road record from 2020 set in Valencia.

Kipruto won the Peachtree Road Race in 2019, as a 19-year-old, and in 2022, as a 22-year-old.

In 2019, Kipruto finished the 50th running of the Peachtree in 27 minutes, one second. It earned him a $50,000 prize for breaking the course record, but also further cemented his place as one of the fastest runners in the world. At the time it was the fastest 10K ever run on American soil.

“I am very happy,” Kipruto said at the time. “Especially because when I was coming here, I was coming for course record. I’m thankful for that.”

The Peachtree Road Race could strip Kipruto of his course record. They are waiting for a possible appeal process to play out. The course record would revert back to Joseph Kimani, who won in 27 minutes, four seconds in 1996

In 202.2, Kipruto won his second Peachtree in 27 minutes, 26 seconds. He won $7,500 for winning the race.

Representatives of the Atlanta Track Club, which runs the Peachtree, issued the following statement to the AJC on the situation:

“Atlanta Track Club is committed to the integrity of sport. For decades, we have conducted drug testing of the elite athlete field at the Peachtree as part of our efforts to maintain a clean and fair environment for competition. We learned today that the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has banned Rhonex Kipruto for six years due to violations of its Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) and disqualified his results going back to 2018. We recognize this impacts the results of the Peachtree from 2019 and from 2022.

“According to his legal representation, Kipruto plans to appeal the AIU’s decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Pending more information on the status of that appeal, we will refrain from further comments.”

No banned substance was found in Kipruto’s system and the case rested on data from his biological passport, which tracks athletes’ blood samples over time to detect irregularities and changes that point to blood doping.

The panel said Kipruto’s defense sought to blame illnesses, irregular training habits and his alcohol use, which it said had increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kipruto also sought to dispute the validity of some blood samples in the case.

A statement on Kipruto’s website dated Tuesday and attributed to unnamed legal counsel indicated he is considering an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. “Despite exhaustive efforts to present comprehensive medical evidence and expert testimonies, the ruling failed to consider crucial aspects of Rhonex’s health and circumstances,” the statement said.

It is the latest in a long series of doping cases involving Kenyan distance runners. Fellow Kenyan runner Rodgers Kwemoi, who placed fourth behind Kipruto in the world championship 10,000 in 2019, was banned for six years last month in a similar case based around blood sample data.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.