Ultra-marathon runner banned for a year after admitting she used car in 50-mile race she won trophy in

15 November 2023, 23:01 | Updated: 15 November 2023, 23:32

Joasia Zakrzewski has been banned from competing and coaching for a year after the panel ruling.
Joasia Zakrzewski has been banned from competing and coaching for a year after the panel ruling. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

An ultra-marathon runner has been banned from competing and coaching for 12 months after admitting she used a car in a race.

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Joasia Zakrzewski, 47, denied that she intended to cheat in the GB Ultras Manchester to Liverpool race in April - but did admit to travelling in her friend’s car for around 2.5 miles of the almost 50-mile course.

Ms Zakrzewski, a Scottish GP, has now been banned from all UK Athletics events and from representing Great Britain for a year, after an independent disciplinary panel ruling.

She was also banned from coaching or managing teams for 12 months after the panel found her guilty of breaching UKA’s code of conduct.

Now based near Sydney, Ms Zakrzewski previously set a world 48-hour distance record in a 255-mile run in Taiwan in February.

During the April event, she had reportedly started to limp during the race and so hitched a ride with a friend to the next checkpoint when her friend convinced her to carry on.

She said she agreed to continue the event, adding she would run in a “non-competitive” way, but went on to receive third place, a medal and a trophy.

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Tracking information revealed that she had taken a short car journey of about 2.5 miles.

“I accept my actions on the day that I did travel in a car and then later completed the run, crossing the finish line and inappropriately receiving a medal and trophy, which I did not return immediately as I should have done,” she told the panel.

The panel said despite her mistake on the day, she still failed to confess in the days that followed.

Ms Zakrzewski had shared messages about the race on her social media, without mention of the car, which she defended by saying she was embarrassed.

She also said she had been left “devastated” by the incident amid facing calls from some to receive a life ban.

The ultra-runner competed for Scotland at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and has set numerous records, such as the British 200k.

Due to her experience as an athlete, the panel said this made her case “even more serious” as it meant she had a duty to abide by the rules.