A marathon runner in Austin, Texas (Photo: Charlie Llewellin/Flickr)
Running a marathon takes serious preparation and hard physical and mental work. Winning one is even harder. But Meredith Fitzmaurice, from Belle River, Ontario somehow managed to win a full marathon on Sunday — by accident.
Fitzmaurice was participating in the Run for Heroes Marathon in Amherstburg, Ontario, but she set out to run the half marathon, not the full 42-kilometre distance. In fact, she'd never run that distance before, but The Windsor Star reports that she ended up taking a wrong turn on the course.
Instead of joining the other half marathon runners, she ended up on the path to the full marathon. She eventually realized her mistake by looking at the time.
"I just run with my watch, so I was watching my time since I planned to do my half in under 1:28," she told the Star. "But I'm looking at the time and wondering where the finish line is."
She asked one of the bike officials where the turn-off for the half marathon was and was told that she had ended up on the path for the full race. As she continued to run, she realized that she could only see nine men ahead of her, and no women. She asked the official whether it would count as an official finish if she completed the marathon, even though she had only signed up for the half.
The official rode off to ask the race director, Chris Uszynski, who said he would honour her completion of the full marathon. Fitzmaurice asked the bike official 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. She also qualified for the Boston Marathon, which will happen on Monday April 20, 2014.
As it turns out, the fact that she was only planning to run half the distance helped her place first.
"I thought I was only running a half marathon so I really gave it out there,” she said. “If I knew I was going to be running the full marathon I probably wouldn’t have ran so fast. So maybe it was a good thing.”
Via The Windsor Star