Call it stupid luck, sheer talent, or maybe just a combination of both -- but an amazing thing happened in Ontario recently. Runner Meredith Fitzmaurice signed up to compete in the half-marathon at the Run for Heroes race. Completely by mistake, she took a wrong turn and ended up completing and winning the full marathon instead -- earning herself a gold medal!
But not everyone is happy for the 34-year-old champ. Some question whether she should be disqualified from the race altogether.
Fitzmaurice was actually training to qualify for the Boston Marathon and, despite never having run a full marathon, had been increasing her miles every weekend. She had completed an impressive 20 miles the weekend before the Ontario race. She had anticipated finishing the half-marathon in 1 hour and 29 minutes, but at one point during the race, she glanced down at her watch and noticed she was very close to reaching that time -- and no longer recognized the path she was running. Instead of turning around, she continued to push forward and, to her utter amazement and shock, was the first woman to reach the finish line of the 26.2-mile full marathon with a time of 3:11:48. By the way, given her outstanding time, she would qualify for the Boston Marathon.
But several running enthusiasts have taken to Facebook and message boards to complain about Fitzmaurice's win, which they say wasn't earned and wouldn't be viewed favorably by the Boston Marathon. Some are also saying her win isn't fair to Victoria Coleman, the second place female runner, who crossed the finish line two minutes after Fitzmaurice.
I know Fitzmaurice wasn't paying attention and missed a turn, and you could argue that it was her responsibility to make sure she was running the right race. But isn't it more important for the fastest female runner -- who beat out her second-place opponent by a full two minutes (a lifetime in a marathon) -- to take the honor she rightfully deserves?
I think it was an honest error on her part and that she deserves to enjoy the honor of her gold medal. This was the first time she attempted to run this long a distance and she still managed to push through after the notoriously exhausting 20-mile mark.
Do you think Fitzmaurice deserves her gold medal win?
Image via Jan Willem van Wessel/Flickr