A Canadian woman hoped to run a half-marathon in Ontario in under one hour and 28 minutes. She ended up crossing the finish line at 3 hours 11 minutes and 48 seconds — but she won.
Run for Heroes Marathon medal. (Photo via Facebook)
Meredith Fitzmaurice accidentally took a wrong turn during the Run for Heroes Marathon in Amherstburg on Sunday, which put her on course for the full 26.2 miles -- not the 13.1 miles of a half marathon.
"I was doing the race as training for my first full marathon in Detroit. But I'm looking at the time and wondering where the finish line is," Fitzmaurice said, according to Canadian wire service Postmedia News.
The 34-year-old eventually asked a course official how much farther to the finish line.
"Once I realized what I had done, I figured, well I'll just run 20 miles and use it as a long run and call it a day," she said.
That was until she noticed very few people ahead of her. She asked the official if it would count if she ran the full marathon. After a brief word with the race director, she learned her time would be honored.
So, onward she ran.
Having only run 20 miles prior to this race, Fitzmaurice said nearing the finish line was "surreal."
"I just kept thinking you can do this, just get it done. The last couple miles were really tough," she told the wire service.
With her final time of 3:11:48, Fitzmaurice won the women's division, took 10th place overall and qualified for the Boston Marathon. The maximum time for Fitzmaurice to qualify for Boston was 3:35:00.
In addition to adrenaline pulling her through, she said her success, in part, was due to how fast she was running during the first half of the race.
"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," she said.
But not everyone agreed with her time being honored for the full race. The Windsor Star compiled some of these thoughts:
As one Facebook commenter pointed out: “Her time should either be noted under the half marathon results or unfortunately a DQ (didn’t qualify). One must ask the question ‘How would the Boston Marathon view this finish?’ The Amherstburg Marathon — a sanctioned Boston Marathon qualifier — should also be held to the same rules and standards as that of the Boston Marathon if we are to hold Boston as the gold standard.”
And still another: “Victoria Coleman, who finished second, thought she was winning the race. It sucks for her, because she didn’t get a fair chance to compete for first.”
People have pointed out Meredith should never have missed the turn. But, unfortunately she did. Her adrenaline was pumping and all she was thinking about was getting her PB.
Headphones during races have always been a problem. A lot of races ban them, but the enforcement of the ban is difficult because it’s easy for runners to hide them. And, let’s face it, who wants to be that volunteer out on the course who has to pull a runner out of a race.
Overall though, as Yahoo! Sports put it, in this case "a wrong turn turns out to be right." To the rest of us, it's "time to pick up the pace."
Watch race director Chris Uszynski discuss with the Windsor Star his decision to allow Fitzmaurice run the full marathon:
Featured image via Shutterstock.com.