Scottish ultra-runner Joasia Zakrzewski, who holds records in the UK for 100 and 200 miles, has been disqualified from the GB Ultras Manchester to Liverpool race for using a car. Zakrzewski, who finished third, was found to have traveled 2.5 miles in a car after race organizers reviewed mapping data, which revealed she covered a mile in just one minute and 40 seconds. The director of the GB Ultras race, Wayne Drinkwater, described the disqualification as “very disappointing.” The matter has been referred to the Trail Running Association (TRA) and UK Athletics, the regulatory bodies.
Adrian Stott, a friend of Zakrzewski, stated that the 47-year-old athlete was “genuinely sorry” and felt unwell before and during the race. Stott explained that Zakrzewski had arrived in Manchester the night before the race, after traveling for 48 hours from Australia. “The race didn’t go to plan…she was feeling sick and tired during the race and wanted to drop out,” Stott said. “She has cooperated fully with the race organizers’ investigations, giving them a full account of what happened. She genuinely feels sorry for any upset caused.”
Zakrzewski is an experienced runner, having finished 14th in the 2014 Commonwealth Games marathon in Scotland. She has competed in many ultra-marathons and is considered one of the most successful female ultra-runners in the UK.
Cheating is a significant issue in many sports, including running and, more specifically, ultra-running. Some runners cheat by taking shortcuts, cutting courses, or even using motorized vehicles. Cheating undermines the integrity of the sport and can lead to immediate disqualification, fines, potential criminal charges, and future race bans. It also damages the reputation of the runner and can have long-term consequences for their career.
Mel Sykes has been awarded third place at the GB Ultras Manchester to Liverpool race. However, it is not yet clear what the consequences of Zakrzewski’s disqualification will be. She has the support of many in the running community, including Scottish Athletics chairman David Ovens, who hopes that she can put this behind her and that there is an innocent explanation for the incident. Regardless of the outcome, this incident is a reminder that the sport of ultra-running must remain vigilant against cheating and uphold the highest standards of integrity.
Closing Thoughts on Joasia Zakrzewski Cheating
While some might feel that this was a one time bad decision, I believe that this incident should probably open up many of Zakrzewski’s past accomplishments to further analysis and speculation. I want to make this clear, I’m not saying she did cheat in the past. Just that based on her actions, questions should be asked. Most people don’t cheat, and the ones that do, tend to do it until they get caught. The fact that she had no problem cheating, and possibly more telling, that her team had no problem helping her cheat, makes it pretty clear that this is acceptable behavior to them. And they would have never said anything had they not been caught.
Just look at the photo of her below. She is on the left. The one smiling at the end of the race, after having cheated and taking a podium spot from another runner. This says a lot about her character. So I think the real question is might be, how many times has Joasia Zakrzewski cheated? And how many, if any of her record setting accomplishments are real?