(CNN) Scottish ultramarathon runner Joasia Zakrewski has been disqualified from the 50-mile race after traveling in a car for part of the course.
Zakrevsky, who initially finished as the third woman in the race, was competing in the GP Ultras Manchester to Liverpool event in northwest England on April 7 when organizers said she had gained an “unsportsmanlike competitive advantage” which would have compromised the integrity of the results. .
47-year-old Zakrevsky he told the BBC She made a “big mistake” in accepting the third-place award and “should have given it back”, adding that she was “tired, jet lag and feeling sick” during the race having arrived from Australia the night before.
She said she got lost in the middle of the road and her leg hurt, after which she accepted a ride in her boyfriend’s car to the next checkpoint, according to the BBC.
When I got to the checkpoint I told them [race marshals] I was pulling out of the car and that I was in the car and they said, ‘You’ll hate yourself if you stop,'” Zakrzewski told the BBC, explaining how she had agreed to continue in a “non-competitive manner”.
CNN was unable to contact Zakrzewski, a doctor who has competed internationally for Scotland and Great Britain. Her friend and fellow runner, Adrienne Stott, said he was unable to provide further comment on the event.
In a statement, GB Ultras Race Director Wayne Drinkwater said: “The issue has been investigated, and after reviewing data from our race tracking system, gpx data, data provided by our event team, other competitors and from the entry itself, we can confirm that A runner has now been disqualified from the event after he moved the car through part of the way.”
Drinkwater added that a report about the disqualification had been submitted to the Track Running Association (TRA) and that the matter had now been turned over to the TRA and UK Athletics as the regulators.
He wasn’t malicious
Mel Sykes has since finished third in the women’s sprint class, which she described as “great news for me” but “bad news for sportsmanship”.
Writing on Twitter, Sykes He said: “No race director wants this to happen at one of their events, and the team at GB Ultras have been great with their investigation. I give them back the third place award, and then it will be sent to me.
“The sad thing about all of this is that it takes the worry out of race organizers, fellow competitors, and completely fair sports.”
Zakrzewski said she was “devastated” by what happened in the race and apologized to Sykes.
“It wasn’t malicious, it was a misunderstanding,” she told the BBC, adding that she regretted not telling officials at the end of the event that she wasn’t running competitively.
“I would never cheat on purpose and this wasn’t a target race, but I don’t want to make excuses.
“Mel didn’t get the glory in the end and I’m really sorry she didn’t.”
CNN contacted the TRA but did not immediately receive a response. Athletics UK said it was aware of the incident and it was likely to be managed at national governing body level.
“Alcohol enthusiast. Twitter ninja. Tv lover. Falls down a lot. Hipster-friendly coffee geek.”