News02 Apr 2019

Athletics Integrity Unit and World Marathon Majors announce new intelligence and testing programme in ground-breaking anti-doping initiative


Marathon runners in action (© Getty Images)

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) and the Abbott World Marathon Majors (Abbott WMM) today revealed a ground-breaking extensive new anti-doping investigation and intelligence-driven testing programme in a landmark moment in the drive for a clean sport.

Since it was founded in 2017 by the IAAF, the AIU has worked closely with the Abbott WMM organisation, which comprises six of the most prestigious marathons in the world: Tokyo Marathon, Boston Marathon, Virgin Money London Marathon, BMW Berlin Marathon, Bank of America Chicago Marathon and TCS New York City Marathon.

With the integrity of marathon running at the forefront of their work, the Abbott WMM, which was formed in 2006, began working with the former IAAF Medical and Anti-Doping Department in 2013, and the AIU has continued the operations since their inception in 2017. Additional funding is now being invested by the Abbott WMM to support this cutting-edge programme based on intelligence and testing.

During 2018, the AIU conducted extensive analysis of the risks to the integrity of athletics and road running and consequently devised the programme which puts a higher focus on the best elite athletes, utilising intelligence to ensure that the right athletes are tested at the right time.

Tim Hadzima, Executive Director of Abbott WMM, said: “The Abbott World Marathon Majors is proud of its zero-tolerance policy on doping and its proactive work investing in and supporting anti-doping programmes. We are constantly reviewing the programme with the AIU and the future clearly requires a strong focus on intelligence and investigative capability. We are working with the experts in the AIU to set the pace for road racing.”

David Howman, Chairman of the AIU, said: “The Abbott WMM races have shown they are not interested in a ‘tick-the-box’ approach to anti-doping or playing the numbers game of more and more tests. They are deeply invested in catching cheaters, identifying the risk to their races, understanding the root causes of doping and doing something about it.

“By supporting the enhanced programme, the Abbott WMM has underlined their commitment for clean sport and set an example for the industry,” added Howman. “This programme is world-leading and will ensure the Abbott WMM races are among the very best regulated sporting events in the world when it comes to anti-doping.”

In accordance with the AIU’s recommendation, the programme continues to involve a testing pool of 150 elite runners, with a shift to an emphasis on intelligence-led testing.

AIU and WMM for the IAAF

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