British ultrarunner banned for 12 months after using car during 50 mile race
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A leading British ultra-marathon runner has been banned for 12 months after being found guilty of using a car to bag her a podium place.
Following the race, which took place on 7 April, the Dumfries doctor admitted that she had jumped in her friend’s vehicle after telling event marshals that she was injured and no longer competing.
Speaking to the BBC, Zakrzewski's friend claimed that the 47-year-old had been feeling ‘sick and tired’ before embarking on the race after she arrived into the UK from Australia just hours earlier.
"The race didn't go to plan. She said she was feeling sick and tired in the race and wanted to drop out,” the friend claimed.
Following an investigation, the ultra-marathoner was stripped of her third-place trophy, and the UKA disciplinary panel has now banned her from competing in any UKA-licensed races.
The decision also means that the doctor will be unable to represent Great Britain in any races or coach any fellow runners. This is due to being found guilty of breaking the UKA code of conduct for senior athletes.
Before the decision, Zakrzewski claimed that because of her flight from Australia, she was ‘unable to think straight’.
As per The Guardian, she said that the disorientation she was suffering led her to ‘wrongly accept the trophy’ at the end of the race.
In a written decision, the board found that Zakrzewski’s excuses were: “Contrary to the evidence of the marshals, evidence which the respondent did not seek to challenge or contest, by way of cross-examination at the hearing”.
Evidence showed that the runner travelled roughly 2.5 miles in her friend's car, and according to GPS Data, one of those miles was covered in a staggering one minute and 40 seconds.
The panel also claimed that Zakrzewski only disclosed the fact she had travelled by car after she was challenged by the race organisers.
They wrote: “The respondent sought to defend this by claiming she was embarrassed, but ultimately she chose not to disclose what had happened rather than embarrass herself.”
While the disorientation claims have been taken into account, the UKA disciplinary panel said that if she was suffering from ‘brain fog’ she had a week to ‘realise her actions and return the trophy’.
In a letter to the panel, the now-banned runner wrote: “I accept my actions on the day that I did travel in a car and then later completed the run, crossing the finish line and inappropriately receiving a medal and trophy, which I did not return immediately as I should have done”.