British Endurance Runner Disqualified for Taking a Car during Race

A Scottish ultra-marathon runner has been disqualified from an 80-km race for, allegedly, using a car while on the course.

Joasia Zakrzewski had originally finished third in the GB Ultras Manchester to Liverpool race, but the results have since been updated and a post on the race Facebook page said there was a disqualification and the third-place finisher is now Mel Sykes. 

"Incredible well done to 3rd Place lady Mel Sykes completing the M2L Ultra on race day in a time of 7:32:58 (h:mm:ss) and finishing in 17th position overall… Fantastic performance and achievement Mel. Apologies for the delay in correcting your rightful position & thank you for your patience and understanding over the last few days," read the post.

According to an ABC News article, it is alleged that Zakrzewski took a car for a portion of the race, which came to light when tracking data showed her covering a mile of the race in a minute and 40 seconds.

Race director Wayne Drinkwater confirmed the issue during an interview with the BBC.

“The issue has been investigated and, having reviewed the data from our race tracking system, GPX data, statements provided from our event team, other competitors and from the participant herself, we can confirm that a runner has now been disqualified from the event having taken vehicle transport during part of the route,” Drinkwater told the BBC. “The matter is now with the TRA (Trail Running Association) and, in turn, UK Athletics (UKA) as the regulatory bodies.”

Zakrzewski is a world-class athlete and competed for Great Britain at the IAU World 100km Championships and last February won the 48-hour Taipei Ultramarathon. 

A running friend of hers, Adrian Stott, spoke to the BBC on behalf of Zakrzewski explaining what had happened and that the runner was "genuinely sorry."

"The race didn't go to plan. She said she was feeling sick and tired on the race and wanted to drop out," he told the BBC.
"She has cooperated fully with the race organisers' investigations, giving them a full account of what happened. She genuinely feels sorry for any upset caused."


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