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Scottish ultra-marathon runner disqualified for using car during race

By Agence France-Presse Published Apr 23, 2023 9:45 am

A Scottish ultra-marathon runner who was disqualified from a race for using a car for part of the course says she made a "massive error" in accepting the third-place trophy.

Zakrzewski, 47, took part in the 50-mile (80-kilometer) GB Ultras Manchester to Liverpool event on April 7.

It was later discovered she had traveled about 2.5 miles in a car—it is understood that mapping data showed she covered a mile in one minute and 40 seconds.

The doctor, who now lives near Sydney, told the BBC she was in pain around the halfway mark.

She accepted a lift in a friend's car to the next checkpoint with the intention of telling marshals she was pulling out of the race.

"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.

"I agreed to carry on in a non-competitive way."

When she crossed the line she was given a medal and trophy and posed for pictures.

The runner, who had only arrived from Australia the night before, said: "I made a massive error accepting the trophy and should have handed it back.

"I was tired and jetlagged and felt sick."

"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."

Zakrzewski said she regretted not telling officials at the end of the race that she was not running competitively but added: "It wasn't malicious, it was a miscommunication."

Wayne Drinkwater, GB Ultras race director, said he had received information that an athlete had gained an "unsporting, competitive advantage during a section of the event," confirming a runner had been disqualified.

Zakrzewski finished 14th in the 2014 Commonwealth Games marathon in Scotland and has set a number of records in ultra-marathon running.

Third place has been awarded to another competitor. (AFP)