• Loading stock data...
Monday, May 20, 2024

Boston Marathon Organizers Still Owe Tens of Thousands to Former Winner

  • The Boston Athletic Association says it’s trying to recoup the money from the original winner after a doping conviction.
  • No rule is preventing the B.A.A. from paying Buzunesh Deba the money on its own.
Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Marathon is taking its time paying a former winner. 

Buzunesh Deba, who came in second place in the 2014 race, was bumped up to first after notorious doper and three-time Boston winner Rita Jeptoo was busted in ’16. (Only Jeptoo’s 2014 title was disqualified.)

Yet with the 2024 marathon on tap for Monday, Deba is still out tens of thousands of dollars owed as the official winner. The Wall Street Journal reported on her saga Friday. Deba is still owed $75,000 for the difference between first- and second-place prize money, and another $25,000 for her 2:19:59 time becoming the course record after Jeptoo was disqualified.

The Boston Athletic Association, which operates the marathon, has a reason for why Deba has yet to be paid: Jeptoo, the original winner, won’t give her winnings back, Deba told the Journal

“The Boston Athletic Association stands for clean sport and fair competition,” a B.A.A. spokesperson said to Front Office Sports in an email. “Following the ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the B.A.A. pursued reclaiming winnings from Rita Jeptoo. As the matter is still ongoing, we are unable to comment further at this time.”

Deba, who has since taken time off from competitive running to start a family, told the WSJ it’s not Jeptoo’s responsibility to return the money as much as it is the B.A.A.’s to pay her. 

It’s through anti-doping measures that Deba, a native of Ethiopia, became the winner. She recalled to WSJ that Jeptoo didn’t seem tired after finishing the 2014 marathon. At the time, Jeptoo hadn’t failed a drug test, but she did four months later, when her sample contained EPO, a banned substance. 

The result triggered an investigation by the international Court of Arbitration of Sport, which concluded Jeptoo’s pre-marathon test had evidence of doping. Jeptoo’s 2014 marathon win was disqualified by the CAS as part of a four-year sanction against her. 

The rules of World Athletics, running’s international governing body, say that prize money is required to be reallocated “only if and when all the forfeited prize money has been repaid by the Ineligible Athlete to the relevant person or entity.” The federation told the WSJ that B.A.A. isn’t prevented from paying Deba “on a purely voluntary basis.”Of course, the B.A.A. could pay Deba the money she’s owed if it wants to. According to the WSJ, the nonprofit has reported having nearly $30 million in assets on hand.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

MLB Officially Investigating Gambling Allegations Against Ohtani’s Close Friend and Longtime Teammate

David Fletcher reportedly used the same bookmaker as Ohtani’s former interpreter.

‘This Is Semi-Pro’: Inside One Arena Football League Team’s Collapse

The collapse of the Georgia Force, as told by the players who lived it.

Fanatics Sues Marvin Harrison Jr., Says He Leaked ‘Misleading’ Info to ESPN

Harrison’s side says the two sides don’t have a contract, which Fanatics disputes.

WNBA Investigating Las Vegas Tourism Arm’s $100K Payments to Aces Players

The sponsorship is worth more than several players’ salaries.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Bare Knuckle Fighting Comes Out of the Shadows


Featured Today

Michael Block signs autographs on the 18th hole during day three of practice for the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

‘I Prefer It This Way’: How Life Works for PGA Club Pros

Here’s how life works for the qualifiers at golf’s second major.
February 5, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; The grounds of the Capitol Building empty out following the conclusion of President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech on February 5, 2019.
May 18, 2024

‘A Breathtaking Lobbying Campaign’: The NCAA’s Sophisticated Effort to Save Amateurism

Inside the carefully coordinated, multimillion-dollar operation to end the athletes’ rights era.
May 14, 2024

The WNBA Was Forged in Houston. Why Won’t It Go Back There?

Houston’s a perfect fit for expansion. The league isn’t considering it yet.
May 9, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) stands with the team during the national anthem on Thursday, May 9, 2024, during the preseason game against the Atlanta Dream at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
May 12, 2024

‘Perfect Storm’: The Rise of Local WNBA Broadcast Pacts

With national attention reaching new heights, regional coverage could dictate the future.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers

Chaos at the PGA Championship: Here’s What We Know

The No. 1 golfer in the world nearly didn’t make it to Valhalla Golf Club.
May 15, 2024

Caitlin Clark Debuts With WNBA’s Most-Watched Game in Decades

The game averaged 2.12 million viewers, the WNBA’s highest since 2001.
May 17, 2024

World’s Best Golfer Arrested Attempting to Enter PGA Championship

Scottie Scheffler was arrested and released by Louisville police Friday morning.

Major League Rugby’s Vision for American Rugby

How Major League Rugby is leading the Rugby renaissance in the U.S.
Portuguese superstar Cristiano Rolando gives thumbs during World Cup match
May 15, 2024

The 25 Highest-Paid Athletes in the World

Cristiano Ronaldo takes the crown as the highest-paid athlete in the world.
May 15, 2024

Caitlin Clark’s Pro Debut: Inside the Connecticut Casino Pressure Cooker

Clark struggled on the court as the hype exploded off it.
May 13, 2024

Rich Running Fan Pays Boston Marathon Winner After Organizers Still Haven’t

The Boston Athletic Association still owes the winner $100,000.
May 13, 2024

Bronny James Reportedly Staying in Draft After Medical Clearance

James immediately becomes the draft’s most polarizing prospect.