4 January, 2024

In response to news reports in various media outlets regarding alleged criminality in the misuse of public funds and during the process of collection of samples and monitoring of the disciplinary proceedings by the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency (CELAD), the organisers of the Valencia Marathon Trinidad Alfonso and Valencia Half Marathon Trinidad Alfonso Zurich  have decided not to enter into new contracts for anti-doping tests with CELAD until full investigations into the alleged irregularities have been made and the findings published. An administrative investigation will be carried out by WADA, the international anti-doping body. A judicial investigation will be carried out by the State Prosecutor’s Office, said investigation being prompted by the National Sports Council (CSD), to which CELAD reports.


Juan Manuel Botella, General Director of the Valencia Marathon and Half Marathon stated: “Although the cases reported in the media are unrelated to the testing carried out by the Valencia Marathon and Half-Marathon, the news has dented our trust in the Spanish top anti-doping body and in the companies authorised by it to carry out tests. Given that the President of the CSD himself has publicly stated that there are signs of criminal behaviour, and has reported them to the Prosecutor’s Office, we can take it that matters must be grave indeed. Thus, we cannot stand idly by or pretend that nothing is amiss.”


“The organisers of the Valencia Marathon and Half Marathon uphold the highest standards to detect and punish cheating and doping. Here, one should note that we have built world-class professional races. Accordingly, the Spanish top anti-doping body and its contracted companies must meet the challenge of servicing such events. Should they be unable to do so, we shall abstain from using them.”


Therefore, unless and until matters have been wholly clarified to our satisfaction and our fears allayed, the contracting of anti-doping controls in the Valencia Half Marathon Trinidad Alfonso Zurich and the Valencia Marathon Trinidad Alfonso shall be directly entrusted to teams from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) to ensure impartiality, rigor, and zero tolerance of cheats.


“Like all major races, Valencia has suffered in the past from the tricks pulled by some runners. Such underhand behaviour has both cost us money and on occasion shattered our dream of crowning the true champions. Hence our unwavering commitment to finding the tricksters and rooting them out from the sport,” Botella stressed.


Valencia was the first organisation ever in the World Athletics Championships that voluntarily contributed $50,000 in 2018 for surprise controls. Like other top international races, it does not contract athletes who have been definitively sanctioned for serious doping offenses, regardless of whether the ban has elapsed. Annually, the Valencia Marathon and Half-Marathon directly spend over €35,000 on anti-doping tests and the provision of the right facilities for carrying them out. Furthermore, annual payments of over $70,000 are made to World Athletics under the Road Running Label programme, which World Athletics earmarks to biological passport controls.


I trust the whole affair will help highlight the vital importance of a stronger, more transparent Spanish anti-doping body, armed with all the human, legal and financial means needed to fight corruption in sports,” Botella concluded.

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