AN ULTRA-MARATHON runner has been banned for 12 months by UK athletics for using a car to finish a race that travelled through Widnes.

Scottish runner Joasia Zakrzewski was disqualified after an investigation revealed she had cheated and taken a car, finishing in third place.

She travelled 2.5 miles of the race in a car before crossing the finish line and receiving a medal.

According to an independent disciplinary panel, Zakrzewski claimed she ‘told officials that she had used the car and finished in a non-competitive manner’.

The panel, however, judged that: “The claimant had collected the trophy at the end of the race, something which she should have not done if she was completing the race on a non-competitive basis.

"She also did not seek to return the trophy in the week following the race.

"Even if she was suffering from brain fog on the day of the race, she had a week following the race to realise her actions and return the trophy, which she did not do.

"Finally, she posted about the race on social media, and this did not disclose that she had completed the race on a non-competitive basis."

The doctor, who is based in Scotland, uploaded her race data to Strava, which showed her reaching 35 mph whilst her heartrate decreased and travelling a mile in one minute and 40 seconds.

The 47-year-old from Dumfries had finished third in the GB Ultras Manchester to Liverpool race on April 7.

Zakrzewski reportedly took a car halfway through the race after falling ill.

The car-using disqualified runner apologised after the incident, saying: "I made a massive error accepting the trophy and should have handed it back."

She claims that due to sickness and a sore leg she was taken in a car, before being encouraged to finish the race in a non-competitive fashion. When she crossed the finish line, she was given the bronze medal and posed on the podium.

"I was tired and jetlagged and felt sick.

"I hold my hands up, I should have handed them back and not had pictures done but I was feeling unwell and spaced out and not thinking clearly."