A Scottish ultrarunner has been banned from competition for 12 months after a UK disciplinary panel handed down a penalty in response to her cheating during a race earlier this year.
Joasia Zakrzewski admitted using a car to gain mileage while taking part in the 2023GB Ultras Manchester to Liverpool – a 50-mile ultramarathon that took place last April. Zakrzewski, who finished third, accepted a medal and a trophy from marathon organizers but eventually returned both and admitted after the fact that he had raced with an unfair advantage, according to a written decision by Britain Athletics’ Independent Disciplinary Panel in October.
“The claimant had collected the trophy at the end of the race, something she should not have done if she was finishing the race on a non-competitive basis,” said the disciplinary panel, which noted that Zakrzewski “also did not seek to return the trophy in the week following the race. “
By September, Zakrzewski had relinquished both awards and admitted in a letter to the disciplinary committee that she had completed part of the ultramarathon course by car and the rest on foot before accepting the third-place medal and trophy.
“As stated, I accept my actions on the day I traveled by car and then completed the run crossing the finish line and inappropriately received a medal and cup that I did not immediately return as I should have done,” she wrote in the letter, according to the lineup .
A 47-year-old general practitioner originally from Dumfries, Scotland, Zakrzewski currently lives near Sydney, Australia, and is traveling from there to take part in the Manchester to Liverpool race in the spring, BBC News reported.
Zakrzewski said earlieraround the 25-mile mark of the ultramarathon in April because she got lost and her leg hurt. The friend apparently drove Zakrzewski about 2 1/2 miles to the race’s next checkpoint, where she tried to tell officials she was dropping out of the ultramarathon. But she went on to finish the race anyway from that checkpoint.
“When I got to the checkpoint I told them I was pulling out and that I was in the car and they said ‘you’re going to hate yourself if you stop,'” Zakrzewski told BBC News Scotland in the weeks after the ultramarathon. By then she had admitted to using a car to participate and was disqualified.
Zakrzewski claimed she did not breach the UK’s code of conduct for senior athletes because she “never intended to cheat and did not conceal the fact that she was traveling in a car”, wrote the disciplinary panel, which disagreed with the claims .
“Even if she suffered from brain fog on the day of the race, she had a week after the race to realize her actions and return the trophy, which she did not do,” the commission wrote in its decision. “She finally posted about the race on social media and it didn’t reveal that she completed the race on a non-competitive basis.”
In addition to being banned from competitive events for a year in the UK, the disciplinary panel also banned Zakrzewski from representing Great Britain in domestic and overseas events for the same period.