Report: Marathon cheat Liliya Shobukhova wants to run in Rio

Liliya Shobukhova, Women's Marathon 2012 Olympics
Liliya Shobukhova, Women’s Marathon 2012 Olympics

Disgraced marathoner Liliya Shobukhova just won’t pack it in.

The former Chicago and London Marathon champion plans to take a shot at qualifying for the 2016 Olympics, according to Russian news agency TASS.

Before being busted for doping, Shobukhova won three straight Chicago Marathons from 2009-2011, a feat that’d never been accomplished. During her stretch of marathoning dominance, she also won the London Marathon twice (2010-11) and ran the second fastest women’s marathon of all-time, a blazing 2:18:20. There have only been 26 sub-2:20 performances in women’s marathoning history.

Shobukhova was known for her fast finish and negative splits, which in retrospect were no doubt aided by the use of PEDs. In 2009, she closed the last 2.2K of the Chicago Marathon in 6:23, a 2:49/km pace. That’s sub-2:00 marathon pace, over two minutes faster than the men’s world record. Perhaps alarm bells should have sounded with that performance.

Paula Radcliffe remains the fastest woman in history at the distance, running a 2:15:25 at the 2003 London Marathon. She holds the next two fastest times. Along with Catherine N’dereba of Kenya, she and Shobukhova are the only three women to have ever run under 2:19.

During Shobukhova’s doped dominant streak, she cashed in on millions of dollars of prize money, none of which she has paid back. The London Marathon has gone as far as to ban her for life from competing at their event.

Shobkhova’s four year ban was actually reduced to just over three years this summer after she provided “substantial assistance” to the World Anti-Doping Agency. She raced for the first time last month in Russia, placing fifth at their half-marathon championships.

The Russian doesn’t have a great track record at the Olympics. She placed out of the medals when she raced in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008. She failed to finish the marathon at the 2012 London Olympics.