Running a race is no mean feat—it requires a lot of physical and mental preparation—or does it? Check out these amazing stories of runners in the wrong place at the wrong time.
1The 12-year-old girl who accidentally ran a half marathon
LeeAdianez Rodriguez signed up for a 5-kilometer race in Rochester, New York, but she arrived at the wrong starting position and ran a course set up for a half marathon. She realized about halfway through that she must have been in the wrong race but decided to finish anyway. Instead of running 3.1 miles, she ran 13.1 miles. Her finishing time was 2 hours, 43 minutes, and 31 seconds.
Her mother became worried when her daughter wasn't among the finishers of the 5K, but they were reunited when Rodriquez finished the half-marathon.
2The woman who won a full marathon after running it by accident
Running a marathon takes serious preparation— it's hard physical and mental work. Winning one is even harder. Meredith Fitzmaurice, from Belle River, Ontario, somehow managed to win a full marathon in 2013—by accident.
Fitzmaurice was participating in the Run for Heroes Marathon in Amherstburg, Ontario, but she had set out to run the half marathon, not the full 42-kilometer distance. In fact, she'd never run that distance before, but ended up taking a wrong turn on the course. Instead of joining the other half marathon runners, she ended up on the path for the full marathon. She eventually realized her mistake by looking at the time. As she continued to run, she could only see nine men ahead of her but no women. She asked whether it would count as an official finish if she completed the full marathon, even though she had only signed up for the half.
Race director Chris Uszynski said he would honor her completion of the full marathon. Fitzmaurice asked the bike official she had been speaking with to keep her company, and as she neared the finish line, people started high-fiving her and telling her she was the lead woman in the race.
She crossed the finish line with a time of 3:11:48. Fitzmaurice was the first woman across the line and finished 10th place overall.
3The 8-year-old Trenton boy who accidentally won a 10K race
Nicholas Vandenberg was not much of a runner before November's Performance Spine & Sports Medicine Trenton Half Marathon event in 2015. Most of the 8-year-old's running came from soccer and a few one-mile fun runs.
His dad, John Hatch, signed himself and his son up for the 5K portion of the marathon thinking they could have some father and son exercise time together. However, once the race started, Nicholas left his dad in the dust and was gone. After a wrong turn, he accidentally ran the 10K race and won his age group—runners under 14. He finished a startling 37th overall out of over 1,000 runners.
4The marathon participants who had to run an extra 4 miles after an accidental extension by organizers
Bangkok is now home to the world's longest half-marathon, but how that happened isn't exactly a source of pride for race officials.
Instead of a 21km (13mi) run through the capital of Thailand, the Standard Chartered Bangkok Marathon held in November 2015 extended to 27.4km—an extra 6.4km (4 mi)—due to a significant blunder by the organizers. According to the National Jogging Association of Thailand (NJAT), officials directed runners in the wrong direction which resulted in the mistake. "Our staff mistakenly marked a U-turn onto the course which added six kilometers to the route," said Songkram Kraisonthi, a spokesperson for NJAT.
NJAT apologized and compensated runners with a special "finisher" shirt in recognition of the extra distance they ran.
Ok, the next entry is not about a person, but it is still pretty awesome:
5The "lazy" dog that accidentally ran a half-marathon and finished 7th
On January 2016, Ludivine, a 2½-year-old hound, was let out of the house in Elkmont, Alabama, to do her business. Prone to roaming around town at will, Ludivine snuck out of the backyard and made her way to the starting area of the inaugural Trackless Train Trek Half Marathon about a quarter mile away.
Ludivine proceeded to mingle with the runners, run the entire 13.1-mile course, cross the finish line in an unofficial 1:32:56, and have a medal draped over her floppy brown ears—all without her owner, April Hamlin, realizing she had wandered off in the first place.
6The teen who had planned to run half a marathon, missed a turn and ran the full one
A 17-year-old cross-country runner set out to run a half-marathon but accidentally ended up running the full marathon course — a whopping 26.2 miles—when he missed a turn.
Evan Megoulas runs on his high school's cross country team in Palmyra, PA, which is 80 miles west of Philadelphia. On November 2015, he set out to run the 13.1-mile half marathon. His family was waiting for him at the finish line but became concerned when he didn't show up.
They gave police a photo of Evan, and officers tracked him down in the Manayunk section of the city. He felt good despite missing his turn and decided to keep running.
Evan's brother says after he had completed the Philadelphia Marathon course, officers wanted a picture with him.
His time was 5:23:11.
7The woman who just wanted to walk with a friend but ran for 13.1 miles with no training
Allyson Primack is a mom and blogger. In 2012, she wrote about the day when she accidentally ran a marathon with no training.
Allyson's husband runs a half marathon every year in Phoenix. One day, she decided she would walk it with a friend while he ran. She explained that she never runs outside, only on the treadmill while reading. When she got to the starting line, she couldn't find her friend (this was in the days before cell phones) and realized she would have to run to get back to her car. And so she ran, really, really fast, for 13.1 miles, with no training.
But don't get too excited thinking you should try it! Allyson also said that when she got to the finish line, she couldn't feel her feet and ended up in physical therapy for a year.