Ultra-marathon runner Joasia Zakrzewski has been handed a year-long ban by UK Athletics after using a car during a race. An independent panel announced the ban after Zakrzewski was accused of getting into a friend’s car during the 2023 GB Ultras Manchester to Liverpool race in April. She claimed she had done so after telling marshals she picked up an injury and was no longer competing.
However, she still accepted a trophy for crossing the finish line in third place, reports The Mirror. GPS data showed Zakrzewski travelled for 2.5 miles in the car, during which time she reportedly reached a speed of 35mph, completing the distance in one minute 40 seconds.
Zakrzewski said she accepted the trophy because she was not thinking straight. She blamed this on having travelled to the United Kingdom from Australia the day before.
Her explanation was not accepted by a UK Athletics disciplinary panel, who have moved to ban Zakrzewski. She will be ineligible to compete in any licensed races and unable to represent Great Britain for a year.
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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.”
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She continued to insist that she had made her intentions clear to marshals, something that was disputed. The marshals present claimed that while Zakrzewski had spoken to them about withdrawing, she had been persuaded to continue.
It was also noted that she had only made it known that she had gone in the car when challenged by the race organiser. “The respondent sought to defend this by claiming she was embarrassed, but ultimately she chose not to disclose what had happened rather than embarrass herself,” the panel added.
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