Woman Accidentally Wins Marathon

Planning for a half-marathon, she won the full

Runners gather for this year's Run for Heroes Marathon, established 2011, to raise awareness of Alzheimer's disease. (Warren Goldswain/Shutterstock)
Photo: Warren Goldswain/Shutterstock

Running the half-marathon at the Run for Heroes race last Sunday, Meredith Fitzmaurice planned to take it easy. She wanted to test herself with a 13-mile run in Amherstburg, Ontario, to prepare for her first long marathon in Detroit next month, where she would try to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Her plans quickly changed, however, when Fitzmaurice took a wrong turn.  Instead of finishing the half-marathon, she kept going; 13 miles turned into 20, and she segued onto the 26.2-mile track.

"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," Fitzmaurice, told the Ottawa Citizen.

Then she noticed there were only nine men ahead of her. She checked with race organizers to see if she could transfer to the full marathon even though she had registered for the half. They consulted with the race director, Chris Uszynski, who granted her request. 

Fitzmaurice finished the full marathon with the winning time of 3:11:48, qualifying her for the 2014 Boston Marathon.

"I had only ever run 20 miles, but I think at that point the adrenaline just pulled me through," said Fitzmaurice, now the first woman to win Amherstburg marathon, placing 10th overall.

She blames her mistake on her headphones and being "in the zone."

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