Scottish ultramarathon runner disqualified for using a car

The use of a car during a race led to the disqualification of a top Scottish ultra-marathon runner.

Joasia Zakrzewski was disqualified from the 2023 GB Ultras Manchester to Liverpool 50-mile run on April 7 when it was later determined that she had driven roughly 2.5 miles. 

There have since been proposals for a life ban.

The 47-year-old Dumfries resident, however, claimed to BBC Scotland that her actions were not intentional and that the only reason she had gotten into a friend’s car was because she had been limping and wanted to alert marshals to her withdrawal.

Later GPS data revealed that the vehicle travelled one of those miles in 1 minute, 40 seconds.

“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’,” Dr Zakrzewski said.

“I agreed to carry on in a non-competitive way. 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.”

Zakrzewski, who placed 14th in the marathon at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and has broken UK records over 100 and 200 miles, acknowledged that it was improper for her to pose for photos and accept a wooden trophy and medal when she crossed the finish line.

She asserted, however, that having flown in from Australia the previous evening had left her jetlagged and unable to function normally.

“I made a massive error accepting the trophy and should have handed it back,” she said.

“I was tired and jetlagged and felt sick. I hold my hands up, I should have handed them back and not had pictures done but I was feeling unwell and spaced out and not thinking clearly.”

Zakrzewski was declared ineligible for the GB Ultras competition “having taken vehicle transport during part of the route,” according to Wayne Drinkwater, the race’s director.

“The matter is now with the Trail Running Association and, in turn, UK Athletics as the regulatory bodies,” he added.

READ MORE : Nicola Sturgeon under increasing pressure to leave the SNP