Marathon Runner Joasia Zakrzewski Disqualified For Using Car In Race

Top marathon runner Joasia Zakrzewski has been disqualified for using a car during a race.
Credit: Alamy & Facebook

A top marathon runner has been disqualified for using a car during a race.

Everyone can agree that marathons are one of the most challenging endurance events a person can undertake.

The 26-mile, or in this case, 50-mile distance, can have a gruesome effect on parts of the lower body – with few finishing a race completely unscathed.

That is, of course, unless you hop into a car for part of it.

Watch as this cameraman takes a tumble after colliding with a marathon runner below…

Joasia Zakrzewski, a top Scottish ultra-marathon runner, has been disqualified from the GB Ultras Manchester to Liverpool 50-mile race for using a car during part of the route.

Even more incredibly, she didn’t even win.

Zakrzewski finished third out of 400 in the race, and it’s believed she travelled by car for 2.5 miles.

This was confirmed after she was tracked on GPX mapping data covering a mile of the race in just one minute and 40 seconds.

To put that into context – you’d have to be running at 36mph to do that.

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Considering Usain Bolt holds the record for the fastest running speed clocked by a human at 27.8mph, one can understand why race organisers’ suspicions were aroused.

Wayne Drinkwater, the director of the GB Ultras race, received information that a runner had gained an ‘unsporting, competitive advantage during a section of the event’ and that the issue had been investigated.

After reviewing data from the race tracking system, GPX data, and statements provided by the event team, other competitors, and Zakrzewski herself, it has been confirmed that the runner had been disqualified from the event.

Drinkwater reported the disqualification to the Trail Running Association, which provides the licence for the event and is an associate member of UK Athletics.

Scottish Athletics chairman David Ovens has expressed disappointment and hopes that Zakrzewski can put this behind her – and that there is an innocent explanation so that she can resume her successful career.

When Zakrzewski crossed the line she was given a medal and a third-place wooden trophy before posing for pictures.

She tells the BBC: “I made a massive error accepting the trophy and should have handed it back.

“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.”

Third place in the race has now been awarded to Mel Sykes, who’s welcomed the decision to disqualify Zakrzewski.

Zakrzewski continues: “I’m an idiot and want to apologise to Mel. It wasn’t malicious, it was a miscommunication.

“I would never purposefully cheat and this was not a target race, but I don’t want to make excuses.

“Mel didn’t get the glory at the finish and I’m really sorry she didn’t get that.”

Adrian Stott, a running friend who has been in contact with Zakrzewski since the event, has explained that she had arrived the night before the race after travelling for 48 hours from Australia.

Stott tells the BBC: “The race didn’t go to plan. She said she was feeling sick and tired on the race and wanted to drop out.”

Zakrzewski has cooperated fully with the race organisers’ investigations and has given them a full account of what happened.

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Stott adds: “She genuinely feels sorry for any upset caused.

“Joasia has been a great ambassador for British sport and has inspired so many women to run and achieve their goals.”

Zakrzewski has achieved numerous feats in her career.

At the Taipei Ultramarathon in Taiwan, she won the 48-hour race outright and set a world record across 255 miles (411.5 km) in February.

She won individual silver in 2011 and bronze in 2014 and 2015 while racing for Great Britain in the IAU World 100km Championships.

She also represented Team Scotland in the marathon at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. In 2020, aged 44, she won a 24-hour event in Australia with a distance of 236.561km.

Zakrzewski holds a number of records, including the Scottish 24-hour record, the British 200k and the Scottish 100-mile record.

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