Ultra-marathon runner Joasia Zakrzewski disqualified after using car in race

A Scottish ultra-marathon runner was disqualified from a race after she used a car during part of the marathon route before taking home the trophy for third place.

Joasia Zakrzewski acknowledged that she made a “massive error” in accepting the trophy during the GB Ultras Manchester to Liverpool 50-mile race on April 7, BBC Scotland reported.

The record-setting runner told the outlet that she was feeling sore and started limping when she saw a friend on the side of the course who offered to give her a lift.

The 47-year-old intended to ride to the next checkpoint to tell marshals she was pulling out of the race — but after the 2.5-mile car ride officials encouraged her to continue.

“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,’” Zakrzewski said.

Scottish ultra-marathon runner Joasia Zakrzewski was disqualified from her most recent race after she used a car during a portion of the course.
Courtesy of Joasia Zakrzewski

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

The runner, who flew in the night before from Australia where she now lives, was awarded a medal and a third-place wooden trophy after crossing the finish line.

“I made a massive error in accepting the trophy and should have handed it back,” Zakrzewski said. “I was tired and jetlagged and felt sick.”

Joasia Zakrzewski
The record-setting runner said she had intended to let race officials know she was not running competitively.
Facebook / Manchester to Liverpool Ultra

“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,” she added.

Wayne Drinkwater, the director of the GB Ultras race, said the group received information after the race regarding a runner who had gained an “unsporting, competitive advantage during a section of the event.”

“After the event, there was no attempt by Joasia to make us aware of what had happened and to give us an opportunity to correct the results or return the third-place trophy during the course of the subsequent seven days,” Drinkwater said.

Joasia Zakrzewski
Race officials said Zakrzewski never informed them that she was not to be considered for any of the awards following the race.
Scottish Athletics

At no point were the race organizers notified that she had stopped running the race competitively, Drinkwater said.

“None of our event team in question, with written statements to confirm this, were aware that Joasia had vehicle transport at any time during the race until we received information after the race from another competitor,” he said. “If we had been made aware during the race, disqualification from the race would have been immediate at that point.”

Joasia Zakrzewski
The 47-year-old said she had gotten into her friend’s car after she was injured.
Getty Images

The third-place trophy has since been awarded to Mel Sykes.

Zakrzewski apologized to the new winner, saying: “I’m an idiot and want to apologize to Mel. It wasn’t malicious, it was miscommunication.”

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

Zakrzewski has set a number of running records including the Scottish 24-hour record, the British 200k and the Scottish 100 miles record.