A 34-year-old Canadian woman managed to win an Ontario marathon on Sunday despite having no intention to enter that particular race, according to The Ottawa Citizen.
Meredith Fitzmaurice had never run 26.2 miles before. Her previous best was 20 miles. She had signed up for a half-marathon as preparation for what she hoped would be next month's Detroit marathon.
But around the eight-mile mark of her race, Fitzmaurice, who was listening to music on her headphones and presumably experiencing a runner's high, missed the half-marathon turn.
“I just missed it,” she said. “I didn't do it on purpose.”
As her suspicions mounted, she asked a bike official where the turn was, but “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.”
While running, she asked the official whether the coordinators would disqualify her time (ruining her initial goal of qualifying for the Boston marathon).
“So as I'm running I'm wondering if my race is going to count, I'm thinking about my friend who is at the finish line, probably wondering where I am since I have the keys to her car.”
Once she got word that her time would stand, she continued powering past other competitors.
As it turned out, Fitzmaurice finished as the fastest woman in the race with a time of 3:11:48. She came in 10th place overall and earned a qualifying spot for the Boston marathon.
“When I crossed the finish line I saw my friend and I started to cry and then I hugged the guy on the bike,” she said. "Without him I wouldn't have been able to do it."