GB Ultras 2023: Ultramarathon runner stripped of victory after Strava app shows she used car for 2.5 miles
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A Scottish ultrarunner was caught off guard by tracking data from a running app, which indicated a 2.5 mile abnormality during a high-profile race. Dr Joasia Zakrzewski, finished third in the 2023 GB Ultras Manchester to Liverpool 50-mile race earlier this month, just weeks after winning a 48-hour race across 255 miles in Taipei.
The record-breaking 47-year-old athlete, who often runs hundreds of kilometres events, has been disqualified from the race after data uploaded to Strava - a running and cycling app - revealed she had used a car for a 2.5-mile stretch of the race.
She has now been stripped of her victory and the case has been forwarded to UK Athletics for further investigation. According to the BBC, a friend said she had been ill after landing in the UK from Australia only hours before and wanted to apologise for what she had done.
The friend, Adrian Stott said: "The race didn’t go as planned. She said she was sick and tired during the race and wanted to drop out. She has fully cooperated with the race organisers’ investigations, providing them with a full account of what occurred."
According to race director Wayne Drinkwater, he was informed that a runner had an "unsporting, competitive advantage during a section of the event." He said the matter was confirmed after reviewing the data from their tracking system.
He said: “Having reviewed the data from our race tracking system, GPX data, statements provided by our event team, other competitors, and the participant herself, we can confirm that a runner has now been disqualified from the event for having taken vehicle transport during part of the route."
Mel Sykes took third place, and she tweeted about the event, saying, "The sad thing about all of this is that it completely takes the **** out of the race organisers, fellow competitors, and fair sport.
"How can someone who knows they cheated cross a finish line, receive a medal/trophy, and have their picture taken? With all of the data analysis we do these days, it’s also a bloody great tool for situations like this.
“To run 1:40min/miles at 90bpm with 0% cadence, you must be a superwoman. The audacity of uploading the data, complete with a trophy photo, makes this even worse!"