How a Fringe Running Blog Broke the Chicago Marathon Doping Story, by Lauren Larson, for CHICAGO Magazine

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The following article was run on the CHICAGO Magazine website on Monday, November 10, 2014. Lauren Larson did a very nice job on the piece and her interview was enjoyable and thoughtful. 

As I have said, most comments have been very positive. The comments on the fringe running blog description make me smile. I have always liked being on the fringe, so that was good to me. 

It is not often that I found myself written about. Would I do it again? Yes. My hope is that this moment helps clean up our sport. 

How a Fringe Running Blog Broke the Chicago Marathon Doping Story

The man who exposed Kenyan runner Rita Jeptoo's alleged doping explains why he did it.

Rita Jeptoo, two-time winner of the Chicago Marathon, is under scrutiny for possible doping.   PHOTO: JESSICA TEZAK/CHICAGO TRIBUNE


The running community was shocked on Halloween when it was reported that 2013 and 2014 Chicago Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo had failed a drug test.

Jeptoo's out-of-competition test took place in Kenya on September 25, two weeks before the Chicago Marathon, and officials have said the test was positive for EPO, a banned blood booster. Jeptoo has since requested a second round of tests--the B-sample--and her Chicago victory if not her career hang in the balance.

"This is an unfortunate event, but it illustrates that the testing process that is in place works," said race director Carey Pinkowski.

First word of the test results, however, did not come from the mainstream media or a major running publication. Instead, it came at 12:15 a.m. Central Time from a family-operated blog based in San Jose, Calif.

Larry Eder, recently of tiny Ft. Atkinson, Wisc. and publishing director for a group of running magazines and websites, broke the news of Jeptoo's test early Friday morning on RunBlogRun while covering the New York Marathon.

Nervous about the potential for libel, Eder met with his lawyer first thing in the morning. Eder knew how much it would cost him if his post were to prove false, but with four sources independently telling him Jeptoo had tested positive, he felt confident enough to proceed.

Within hours, questions were pouring in. Who were his sources? What was his agenda? "As a journalist, I knew it was on," says EderChicago had questions of its own for Eder, and this week, the blogger answered them.

When you broke the story, only Jeptoo's A-sample, the preliminary sample in doping tests, had been tested. Why didn't you wait to break the story until Jeptoo's B-sample had been tested?

I've never written about an A-sample test before in my entire career. I have a very staunch view of it. However, I had four confirmations for the story who didn't know I was talking to the others. I've been working with my lawyer and all that fun stuff, learning about libel law in France and Italy. We simultaneously published in 12 countries, providing our content free to some of the biggest sports papers in the world, because we thought it was that important a story.

To read the entire piece, please go to: http://www.chicagomag.com/city-life/November-2014/How-a-Fringe-Running-Blog-Broke-the-Chicago-Marathon-Doping-Story/

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