This weekend is the London Marathon where roughly 40 000 people will line up to compete, however, none of the professional runners will be representing Russia. For the past 30 months Russian runners have been banned from almost all track and field competition.

Recently, there has been some leeway given to athletes of Russian citizenship who have been permitted to compete as neutrals. Neutral athletes are able to compete, but not to represent their country.  A considerable number of neutral athletes were permitted at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics. The admittance of 169 neutral competitors into the Winter Olympics has reportedly caused tension between the IAAF, who has taken a hard line on the issue, and the ICO. The New York Times reports the relationship between Sebastian Coe of the International Association of Athletics Federation and Thomas Bach president of the International Olympic Committee has become strained over this issue. The track and field governing body has taken one of the hardest lines with regard to the Russian ban, and does not show any sign of letting up.

Russian marathoner Albina Mayorova will be among the runners not competing this weekend. With a personal best of 2:23:52, Mayorova has been banned since 2017. She was 8th at the 2012 Olympics and has been a top 10 finisher at the London, Chicago and Boston marathons.

 

Liliya Shobukhova is another Russian runner with a history of dirty competition. Once praised as one of the fastest women on earth, she was caught cheating and stripped of her three Chicago titles (2009-2011). Shobukhova will not be competing either this weekend.

 

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