Sep 16 2011 by Kieran Westbrook, Dumfries Standard Friday
JO Zakrzewski announced herself onto the international ultra-distance running stage by bagging a silver medal in the 100K World Championships.
The Dumfries athlete crossed the finish line in second place as she smashed the Scottish record and notched up the third all-time best British time at the exhausting event.
She told the Standard: “The whole thing feels like a dream!
“There were so many top athletes in the event I didn’t even think about winning a medal.
“It was a very tough race – and I’ve the blisters on my feet to prove it!”
The event, held in Winschoten, in the Netherland, was the Dumfries Running Club member’s debut 100K race.
And she admits it was a punishing experience for all the competitors.
She said: “Almost half of the field failed to finish the race because it was so hot. But once I started overtaking team GB men I knew I was doing well.
“I started to think something wasn’t right or I had done something wrong. I couldn’t believe how well I was doing.
“Everyone seemed to collapse around me and I just kept going!”
Zakrzewski’s incredible rise to international running began when she was working as a race doctor.
She started in small events and had her first taste of ultra-distance running in the Atacama Desert Crossing charity race – a competition she won.
The achievement won her the Standard sponsored Female Sports Personality of the Year at the Nithsdale Sports Award earlier this year.
And since then she hasn’t looked back, taking on longer and longer distances.
She finished third in her first-ever 50K event last month.
And now she has also has a silver medal as a memento for her first-ever 100K race.
Jo finished second in the event with a time of 7 hours, 41 min and six seconds as 123 of the 300 starters failed to even complete the gruelling course.
She added: “It’s really been amazing.
“I wasn’t even good at sports at school.
“I just started doing it a few years ago and I’ve found it’s something I’m rather good at!”