A Scottish ultramarathoner who admitted to riding in a car for part of a 50-mile race in April has been banned from the sport for 12 months by UK Athletics.
According to a UK Athletics disciplinary panel hearing, Joasia Zakrzewski accepted a lift from a friend for roughly two and a half miles during the 2023 GB Ultras Manchester to Liverpool race.
GPS data shows she’d “run” one of those miles in just one minute, 40 seconds.
Zakrzewski, a decorated 47-year-old runner, went on to place third in the event, and accepted a trophy for her efforts.
In June, Zakrzewski told the panel she entered her friend’s car after injuring herself on the course, and that she was considering dropping out of the race.
Joasia Zakrzewski competes in the Arctic Triple - Lofoten Ultra-Trail on June 4, 2016, in Svolvaer, Norway.
But when she decided to continue running, course marshals say, Zakrzewski failed to tell them she’d covered considerable distance in a car.
Zakrzewski later apologized for taking the trophy, blaming the “massive error” on jet lag in an interview with the BBC.
“When I got to the checkpoint I told them I was pulling out and that I had been in the car, and they said ‘you will hate yourself if you stop,’” Zakrzewski told the outlet.
“I agreed to carry on in a non-competitive way,” she said. “I made sure I didn’t overtake the runner in front when I saw her as I didn’t want to interfere with her race.”
In addition to the 12-month ban on competing, Zakrzewski has been barred from coaching, officiating and managing over the same time period.