A UK Athletics disciplinary panel has banned prominent British ultra-marathon runner Joasia Zakrzewski for 12 months due to her use of a car during a 50-mile race and her subsequent acceptance of a third-place trophy.
Joasia Zakrzewski acknowledged that she entered her friend’s vehicle during the 2023 GB Ultras Manchester to Liverpool race on April 7. However, she asserted that she did so only after informing marshals of an injury, indicating she was no longer in contention.
Despite her notable achievements, such as finishing 14th in the 2014 Commonwealth Games marathon and setting a new 48-hour distance record in February, Zakrzewski denied intentional cheating. Instead, she attributed her actions to jet lag, stating that arriving from Australia the night before had impaired her judgment and led to her mistakenly accepting the trophy.
UKA disciplinary panel
A UKA disciplinary panel dismissed this explanation and subsequently banned Zakrzewski from participating in any UKA licensed races, representing Great Britain, or coaching for a year. The ban was imposed after finding her in violation of the UKA code of conduct for senior athletes.
The panel’s written decision emphasized that Zakrzewski’s claims contradicted the marshals’ evidence, which she did not contest during the hearing. GPS data revealed that Zakrzewski covered around 2.5 miles in a car, with one mile completed in just one minute and 40 seconds.
In her letter to the panel, Zakrzewski admitted to her actions but maintained that she had informed the marshals of her injury and decided to continue on a non-competitive basis. However, the marshals offered a different account, stating that they had persuaded Zakrzewski to continue competitively despite her discussion of withdrawal.
The panel also highlighted Zakrzewski’s delayed disclosure of using the vehicle, noting that she only revealed this information when challenged by the race organizer. They remarked that her claim of embarrassment did not justify withholding the details, stating that she chose not to disclose the incident rather than face embarrassment.