a summit ultramarathon runner in the UK has been hit with a one-year ban after she admitted hitchhiking during a 50-mile race from Manchester to Liverpool, in which she finished third.
Joasia Zakrzewski, 47, wrote in a letter to an independent UK Athletics disciplinary panel that she “traveled in a car and then completed the race, crossed the finish line and inappropriately received a medal and trophy, which did not return immediately.” as he should have done.”
Zakrzewski is a renowned ultra runner who set a world record in February. 255,668 miles in 48 hours. She has also served as Great Britain’s team manager during international sporting events.
In its decision on Zakrzewski casethe disciplinary panel wrote that she is an “experienced athlete, who competes successfully at the highest level” and, as such, had a “responsibility to respect the rules.”
“(This) made it even more serious that she raped them,” the panel wrote.
Zakrzewski has been banned of UK athletics events and representing Great Britain in international competitions, for 12 months. He has also been banned from coaching, refereeing and managing athletes during this period.
Zakrzewski’s cheating was discovered in April, shortly after the GB Ultras Manchester-Liverpool race, where he inappropriately took third place.
The runner was discovered to have traveled approximately 2.5 miles of the 50-mile race in a car after she said she got lost and injured midway through the course.
Zakrzewski apologized for his actions and told him BBC Scotland She began to limp while running the race, so she agreed to let her friend take her to the next checkpoint to tell the stewards that she was withdrawing from the competition.
“When I got to the checkpoint I told them I was leaving and that I had been in the car, and they said, ‘You’ll hate yourself if you stop,’” Zakrzewski told the outlet. “I agreed to continue on a non-competitive basis.”
As for why Zakrzewski accepted the race’s third-place trophy instead of withdrawing, he attributed it to jet lag and fatigue.
Zakrzewski, who had arrived from Australia the night before the race, said he “made a big mistake by accepting the trophy and should have returned it.”
“I was tired, jet-lagged and feeling sick,” she said, adding that she was “not thinking clearly.”
However, in the disciplinary panel’s decision, authorities note that the deputies denied having knowledge of Zakrzewski’s car trip. The panel was told Zakrzewski only said she was hurt and talked about leaving, but he didn’t mention traveling by car.
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Zakrzewski was “given the opportunity to question the bailiffs and challenge their evidence, but decided not to do so,” the decision reads.
After the race, Zakrzewski made no attempt to return his third-place trophy and even posted about it on social media.
“Although he suffered mental confusion on race day, he had one week after the race to realize his actions and return the trophy, which he did not do,” the decision states.
The panel concluded that Zakrzewski attempted to conceal his cheating and violated the Code of Conduct for Senior Athletes. When her breach came to light, Zakrzewski told BBC Scotland that she would “never intentionally cheat”.
He also told the disciplinary panel that he had no intention of cheating or hiding his actions.
“This was not a target race, but I don’t want to make excuses,” Zakrzewski told BBC Scotland.
He also apologized to the real third place winner, Mel Sykes.
“I’m an idiot and I want to apologize to Mel. “It wasn’t malicious, it was a miscommunication,” he said. “Mel didn’t get the glory in the end and I’m so sorry he didn’t get it.”
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