British ultramarathon runner Joasia Zakrzewski was handed a one-year suspension by UK Athletics for using a car to her benefit during a race. An independent panel announced the decision after Zakrzewski was accused of getting into a friend’s car during the 2023 GB Ultra race from Manchester to Liverpool in April. She claimed she had done so after telling marshals she was injured and was no longer in the race.
However, she accepted the third-place trophy after crossing the finish line. Apparently, GPS data showed Zakrzewski travelled for four kilometres in the car. During the ride the car travelled up to 56/kph, completing the 4K distance in 1:40 (less than two minutes), which should take approximately 20 minutes.
Zakrzewski said she “accepted the trophy because I was not thinking straight.” She blamed this on having travelled to England from Australia the day prior. UK Athletics’s disciplinary panel did not accept the defence and banned her for a one-year period.
The 47-year-old has also been banned from coaching or managing for 12 months. The panel said, “The claimant had collected the trophy at the end of the race, something which she should have not done if she was completing the race on a non-competitive basis.
“She also did not seek to return the trophy in the week following the race. Even if she was suffering from brain fog on the day of the race, she had a week following the race to realise her actions and return the trophy, which she did not do.
“Finally, she posted about the race on social media, and this did not disclose that she had completed the race on a non-competitive basis.”
Zakrzewski holds modest personal bests of 3:26:37 over 50K and 7:31:33 for 100K set 12 and eight years prior, respectively.