A leading ultramarathon runner has been banned for 12 months after she used a car for a portion of a 50-mile race, and then accepted a trophy for third place.
The Scottish runner, Joasia Zakrzewski, admitted to using a car while participating in the 2023 GB Ultras Manchester to Liverpool race in April. A UK disciplinary panel announced her suspension in a written decision in October.
During an investigation, UK Athletics said Zakrzewski told marshals that she had spent time in a friend’s car after being hurt and contemplated withdrawing. She was encouraged to continue, but because she completed part of the course by car, said it would be on a noncompetitive basis. The marshals disputed this, saying she continued to race on a competitive basis and accepted a third-place award.
"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," said UK Athletics in its written decision. "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 realize her actions and return the trophy, which she did not do."
In a September statement, Zakrzewski acknowledged that she should have immediately returned the trophy.
Zakrzewski had previously said she had been driven for a distance of 2.5 miles to the next checkpoint after her leg felt sore, and originally intended to quit, according to the Guardian.
In addition to being barred from competitive UK events for a year, she cannot represent Great Britain or any of its constituents in domestic or overseas events for the same period of time.
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