Kenyan marathon runner Felix Kirwa has been banned for nine months after testing positive for strychnine, a drug commonly known as rat poison.

The Athletics Integrity Unit says Kirwa has been banned until November 14 and disqualified from his second-place finish at the Singapore Marathon in December.

Kirwa is the brother of 2016 Olympic women's marathon silver medallist Eunice Kirwa, who ran for Bahrain at the Games and was provisionally suspended last month after testing positive for EPO.

Felix Kirwa's wins include the 2016 Singapore Marathon. He peaked at No. 104 in the event's world rankings this year.

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Strychnine is on the anti-doping list due to its effects as a stimulant and can give an athlete the ability to go for longer without feeling tired.

It was popular as an enhancement drug in the early 1900s, however it can have nasty side effects, which can result in death, and in 1904 American athlete Thomas Hicks nearly killed himself by the end of the race but also won a gold medal.

Hicks was given approximately 1mg of strychnine sulfate and some brandy, which appeared to revive him, but not for long. So, he was given a second dose of strychnine, news.com.au reports.

When he crossed the finish line he collapsed and was too weak to collect his medal. Much more "help" from his team and Hicks might have been killed. But he did recover, and lived until the age of 76, though he never competed again.

Despite taking a stimulant on two occasions during the race, Hicks was never stripped of his medal. Strychnine was not a banned substance, though this quickly changed.

Kenyan athletes have recently come under fire for what has been dubbed rampant doping as more than 60 athletes from Kenya have been caught doping in the last five years.

The issue became so large that the IAAF made it mandatory for local runners to be tested three time in anti-doping campaign to be considered for the world Championships.

Just yesterday the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that Athletics Kenya Vice President Paul Mutwii said his athletes had to use the Africa games in Rabat to prove they are now clean.

"Kenya has even tougher rules against doping for its athletes. They have to meet the conditions and that is why we expect them to take part. The first demand is for them to compete in the national trials for the World Championships in Nairobi," he said.

"They also have to be tested three or more times before qualifying for the World Championship in Qatar."

—With AP