Wrong-way Meredith earns a trip to Boston

A lot of runners in these parts and elsewhere spend a lot of time trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. They may not like the story of Meredith Fitzmaurice who accidentally qualified while running a half marathon in Amherstburg, Ontario.

She’s never run more than 20 miles before and was training for the Detroit marathon, she tells CBC’s As it Happens.

She was about an hour and a half into her race, and expecting to see a finish line.

“I didn’t really have anyone ahead of me to follow,” she said, “so I didn’t know where to go so I just kept going. There were two men ahead of me so I followed them. Around 1:31 I knew something was wrong; I had no one to talk to. I was alone. I thought, ‘you don’t want to turn around now so why not just get 20 miles in for training for Detroit?'”

She had to run an extra 10 miles before she found a finish line.

“There was an official on a bike and I explained my situation to him. I asked if I kept going would the race director honor my time if I qualified for Boston,” she said. They agreed to honor the time and she realized she had a shot.

“I didn’t realize I was in first place for a long stretch because there were so many runners. I think I realized closer to the end when people were yelling at me, ‘you’re in first,’ I put it together that maybe I’m in first.”

She won the women’s division and earned her ticket to Boston. She ran 3:11.48.