Top Ultra Athlete Uses Car – Finishes Third


Top Scottish Ultra-Marathon Runner Disqualified for Using Car

A top Scottish ultra-marathon runner has been disqualified from a race after it was discovered that she had used a car for part of the route.

Joasia Zakrzewski, 47, finished third in the 2023 GB Ultras Manchester to Liverpool 50-mile race on April 7. However, it was later revealed that she had travelled by car for 2.5 miles during the race.

The GP (doctor) from Dumfries was caught using GPS race data after covering a mile of the race in just one minute and 40 seconds, which is impossible.

Zakrzewski has apologized for her actions, saying that she had recently returned from Australia and was feeling sick and tired during the race.

The matter has been referred to UK Athletics (Trail Running Association) which will take appropriate action once the investigation is complete.

Zakrzewski is a former world record holder in the 48-hour ultra-marathon (hmmm), a master’s athlete and has represented Great Britain in the IAU World 100km Championships.

Take Out

Let’s see how this all pans out. She has to be banned for a period of time but is this kind of cheating more forgivable than taking performance-enhancing drugs? Does the fact that she is a, presumably well-respected GP, further add to her sporting and professional sins?

It’s somewhat surprising that using a car is no guarantee of victory in a running race. Who would have thought that until today?


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14 thoughts on “Top Ultra Athlete Uses Car – Finishes Third

  1. Her story does not make sense to me. Anyone can have a bad day in an endurance event and decide they have to withdraw. But once you get in a car and drive, you do not cross be finish line, certainly not for a podium finish.

    She was found out from GPS data as having ridden at least 2.5mi of a 50 mi race in a car. Having covered those miles in 1.5 minutes each rather than maybe 10+ minutes (depending on terrain) and gained maybe 20-30 minutes or more on competitors, she hopped out and then ran to the finish for 3rd place.

    That is not having a bad day and withdrawing from the race. That is unambiguously and ostentatiously cheating. It’s every bit as bad as doping.

    This is not something a normal person would ever do. Ultramarathon does require some honor and trust among participants because there are often long periods where competitors are alone and there are opportunities to cut the course or use a vehicle.

    For me, it warrants scrutinizing carefully her outright win in Taipei, beating all the men as well as her other top results.

    1. Perhaps forgivable would be for her to cross the race line to get some split times and then go to the race director and DQ herself. If she said she forgot to go or became ill after the race I guess that might add up…but she didn’t say that ! if there was some charity thing going on then…maybe (but there wasn’t).

      I didn’t know about the Taiwan race. That does sound suspicious. This story could keep rolling.

  2. How did they get her GPS data? Was it a race provided device, or was she really stupid enough to post it somewhere?

    I agree with Brian. There are zero excuses for this, and this puts every performance she’s done in the past under question.

    I’d say this is worse than doping. At least with doping, you are still doing the work even though you’ve given yourself an illegal advantage. This is just straight up cheating.

  3. It’s just funny to me that someone thinks in this day and age of GPS watches that they could get away with this.

    As was shown last year when another ultra competitor tried to cheat with a vehicle, even if you know what you’re doing, faking modern-day GPS tracks is arguably almost impossible without government (or silicon valley)-level funding.

    And I’m not talking the simple GPS track, but rather all the other metrics it records: Heart rate, elevation, temperature, even solar levels, running power, wrist-based running dynamics (or similar), and in many cases, all of the quiet diag information recorded in the file like GPS accuracy level for each point in the track, sometimes HRV values, etc…

    To manage to have all those things be properly faked in concert, especially to match rolling terrain and environmental conditions, is literally mind-boggling. It’s well beyond someone with Notepad and an old .TCX file, to do right. Especially when the race simply just turns around and says “Ok, send over your watch file”.

    1. I understand that some people somewhere are sometimes going to cheat, and if the media cares that particular week, it might make a bit of a fuss on a quiet news day. What gets me is her social standing (GP/doctor) and her standing in sport (national/masters champion athlete). She’s obviously a very intelligent person and very good athlete…WHY !

      1. definitely quiet, that gives more details, for sure
        it all seems ok and i was kinda nodding and thinking, yeah that makes sense. then i read this bit “When she crossed the line she was given a medal and a third place wooden trophy and posed for pictures.”

  4. It is unbelievable and as others say brings into question her other wins. Also she has to have someone else to drive the car so this is organised cheating. I would say this was at the level of whole team doping we saw in the Armstrong era. I have far more sympathy for the NZ runner who doped simply to keep himself competitive at the end of his sponsored career than for this athlete who has a well paid career and has now possibly thrown it all away.

  5. This stupid cow should be banned from any future events. If she has any shame she will not enroll at any future similar events. Somebody who has the cheek to accept the trophies and have photos under the illusion of coming third probably can’t understand what is so wrong. The fact that she is a Doctor of some sort actually makes the whole thing stink a bit more. Usual story of her being very sorry that the organisers noticed she did a few miles at 35 miles per hour in a mates car. Her excuse she was jet lagged etc doesn’t wash,if an athlete at the olympics took drugs and said they were a bit jet lagged so weren’t thinking straight would this be OK. of course not. I bet she carries on praying everyone forgets using the excuse it’s just a misunderstanding.

  6. I wouldn’t be so sure that she got her papers the right way.
    And analysing the human: Polish or something else Eastern? They have other manners…..

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