The first person ever to accidentally win a marathon

There have been times in my life when I embarked on a run, intending to go two three or four miles, and instead ran four or five.

It’s not unusual to get a burst of adrenaline mid-run that helps push you those extra two miles. The hardest part is willing yourself to do it; once you’re out there on the pavement, it’s easy.

However, I can safely say that never in my life have I planned to run 13.1 miles, only to run 26.2 instead. But that is exactly what happened to Meredith Fitzmaurice, a Canadian women who entered a Toronto half-marathon to prepare for her first full marathon she was planning to run in Detroit next month. Her goal in the Detroit race was to finish in a time that qualified her for the Boston Marathon.

Instead, she took a wrong turn in the Toronto race, and ended up running the full marathon course. Not only did she finish — but she won. And to top it off, she finished in a time that qualified her for next year’s Boston Marathon.

You might be asking yourself how a woman could end up running a 26.2 mile race when she was planning to do half of that distance. Well, apparently she realized something was awry when she hadn’t reached a finish line after an hour and thirty minutes, her estimated time of finish. So she asked a race director, who was biking alongside her, and learned she was on the wrong course.

At that point, she went for it. And won.

It’s a pretty amazing story when you think about it because this is thirteen extra miles that she ran that she wasn’t planning to do. That’s a lot. I’m proud of myself when I force myself to run one extra mile when I exercise. But 13?

It’s so bad ass because people train for months and months for full marathons, and Fitzmaurice, 34, won despite the fact that she had zero intention of doing it. Granted, she was planning to run a full marathon next month, so she clearly was training beyond a half marathon. However, she did say she had never exceeded 20 miles in her life.

Had she just finished the marathon in a respectable time, that would have been a story in itself. But she freaking won. And that’s amazing.

A lot of people, after learning that they were on the wrong course, would have stopped. Maybe they would’ve thought they did something against the rules, or doubted their capabilities, and ran off of the track. But this woman kept going, and now she’ll be running in the Boston Marathon next year. We can all learn a lot from her.

When you are planning to do something — double it. If you’re going to read a book, read two. If you’re going to eat a sandwich, make it a double-decker. If you’re at a bar and you learn that there’s a 2 for 1 special, then, by golly, get four!

Also, I blogged on Tuesday about my distaste for people who regularly run 5ks, because they tend to be way too self-promotional. They’ll tell anybody who will listen that they are participating in a 5k-race, which only takes like 22 minutes to complete.

Meanwhile, Meredith Fitzmaurice ran a full marathon, and she didn’t even tell herself that she was doing it.

That is a true baller if there ever was one.

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