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How did NYC Marathon winner run race without being drug tested?

Yardbarker logo Yardbarker 11/9/2022 Chelena Goldman, Yardbarker
Sharon Lokedi, of Kenya, gets ready to cross the finish line, in first place, with a time of 2:23:23 at the New York City Marathon. © Kevin Wexler-The Record Sharon Lokedi, of Kenya, gets ready to cross the finish line, in first place, with a time of 2:23:23 at the New York City Marathon.

New York City Marathon winner Sharon Lokedi remains in the spotlight this week as the New York Times reported that the 28-year-old runner was not subjected to the same drug tests as her fellow competitors prior to the race.

With the Athletics Integrity Unit coming under scrutiny for this oversight, it's fair to ask: How did Lokedi race and win without going through the same pre-race procedure that other runners did?

For starters, it should be noted that Lokedi isn't suspected of taking any performance-enhancing drugs on race day and that she was subject to a drug test after her victory. 

However, things get interesting when looking at Lokedi's resume prior to the big race. According to the New York Times report, the Kenyan-born runner and University of Kansas product was tested twice this year but it is unclear whether those tests were taken at races or were at random. Lokedi, who reportedly lives in Arizona now, also trained part of the year in Kenya and it is unclear whether she was tested while she was overseas.

So just how did the AIU miss testing Lokedi prior to the big event last weekend? According to the report, the AIU only tested the top 40 female long-distance competitors based on the World Athletics ranking for the sport and Lokedi previously did not rank on the marathon list. (She has since risen to 40th on the list due to her marathon win in New York.) It was also reported that, despite living and doing most of her training in the United States, Lokedi was not subjected to the same scrutiny and drug testing because she still trained in Kenya -- although one would think there would be more of a push to randomly drug test Lokedi given Kenya reportedly has a less-than-stellar anti-doping record

Lokedi didn't appear in the NYC Marathon out of thin air, either. Officials with New York Road Runners, the marathon’s organizer, told the New York Times they had submitted Lokedi’s name to the AIU in June, which placed responsibility squarely on the AIU to make sure she was tested the same as every other runner. 

It remains to be seen what the future holds for Lokedi. One thing seems pretty clear, though: The AIU will probably be tightening up its drug-testing practices after this incident.

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