A 12-year-old girl accidentally completed a half marathon in Rochester, New York on Sunday (24 April). LeeAdianez Rodriguez-Espada had entered the Wegmans Family 5K, part of the Flower City Challenge, but mistakenly thought she had arrived late for the start of the race.
Lee was told by a marshal to start running and quickly caught up with the rest of what she thought was the 5k field. It was on mile four that she started to wonder why the finish line was nowhere to be seen. After asking another runner how much further it was till the end, she realised she’d made a mistake.
Lee explains: “And that’s when it struck me. I was in the half marathon instead of the 5k.”
Her mother, Brendalee Espada, grew concerned when her daughter didn’t cross the 5k finish line and alerted race official and the police. “We didn’t know where she was,” admitted race organiser Ellen Brenner-Boutillier.
Eventually, a police officer found Lee on the Flower City Half Marathon course. Despite realising her family would be worried, Lee was determined to finish the race. As she finally crossed the fish line, her mother began to cry.
Brendalee commented: “I see her with a medal and I thought, “Oh my gosh, she ran the other one, like for real. She decided to just keep running and not give up! I’m really proud.”
Lee completed the half marathon in a respectable 2hr 43min, finishing 1,885 out of 2,111.