Half-Marathoner Misses Turn, Wins 1st Marathon

Meredith Fitzmaurice qualifies for Boston in longest race of her life

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 27, 2013 10:08 AM CDT

(Newser) – That Meredith Fitzmaurice finished first among all female marathoners in an Ontario race on Sunday is a story that wouldn't typically make it past the local paper. But Fitzmaurice's story has a pretty awesome twist: She had never run more than 20 miles before and only entered the race as a half-marathon contender—but a wrong turn sent her onto the full-length track. "I'm looking at the time and wondering where the finish line is," she tells the Ottawa Citizen. "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." (Her plan was to run her first marathon next month, in Detroit.) But at the 15-mile mark, Fitzmaurice, 34, realized there were just nine people ahead of her—and no women.

"I think at that point the adrenalin just pulled me through," says Fitzmaurice, who finished in 10th place overall with a time of 3:11:48, and qualified for the Boston Marathon in the process. "I just kept thinking you can do this, just get it done." She did have a few regrets, like leaving her friends to worry at the finish line, but "this was my first one and even though my family was disappointed they weren't there to see it, maybe this was meant to be." As to how she made the wrong turn: She was wearing headphones and describes herself as being in the zone.

New Jersey Marathon runners race in Asbury Park, NJ, Sunday, May 5, 2013.
New Jersey Marathon runners race in Asbury Park, NJ, Sunday, May 5, 2013.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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