Ultra marathoner disqualified after GPS data reveals she used a car

Feet of ultra marathon runner in forest
(Image credit: Getty)

A runner has been disqualified after using a car to complete part of an ultramarathon, and taking third place on the podium. Scottish runner Joasia Zakrzewski has an impressive track record in long-distance running, but GPS data from this particular race raised concerns with organizers.

Unlike many races, which only record the times when competitors pass over a mat at the start and finish, the GB Ultras Manchester to Liverpool has live GPS tracking to let friends and family follow runners in real time. This data revealed that Zakrzewski finished a section of the race exceptionally quickly, covering one mile at 36mph.

Adrian Stott, a friend of Zakrzewski, told the BBC that she had felt sick on the day, and was sorry for any upset caused. The matter has now been referred to UK Athletics, the governing body for sports in the UK, which can ban athletes from events for cheating.

"Very disappointing"

Race director Wayne Drinkwater said that the incident was "very disappointing". He explained that the decision to disqualify Zakrzewski was made after reviewing race tracking data, statements from the event team, other competitors and Zakrzewski herself.

"We can confirm that a runner has now been disqualified from the event having taken vehicle transport during part of the route,” he said. “The matter is now with the TRA [Trail Running Association] and, in turn, UK Athletics as the regulatory bodies.”

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.