Wrong way
September 26, 2013 7:40 AM   Subscribe

Canadian Meredith Fitzmaurice did not expect to win last weekend's Run for Heroes Marathon, mostly because she was aiming for a 1:28 half.

Not only did Fitzmaurice win the marathon, she simultaneously qualified for the 2015 Boston Marathon by almost thirty minutes.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (20 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
OK, people who win marathons accidentally cross a thin line between worthy of respect, and worthy of jealous contempt.
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:05 AM on September 26, 2013 [14 favorites]

Awesome story -- thanks for posting!
posted by sleevener at 8:10 AM on September 26, 2013

That's pretty cool. Not really comparable but it reminds me of the time I won a swimming race as a kid because I was terrified of the deep water and just wanted to get it over with as soon as possible.
posted by sweetkid at 8:11 AM on September 26, 2013 [7 favorites]

I love this sort of incident, in which someone finds out they are so much more able and accomplished than they think they are.
posted by orange swan at 8:14 AM on September 26, 2013 [8 favorites]

There's some interesting commentary from the women's 3rd/2nd place winner on the Runners World article (last link). According to her, the half marathon started in front of the marathon and that the 'winning' run was short of marathon distance.
posted by ftm at 8:21 AM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

#1 on the list of "things that will never happen to me" is running an extra 13 miles accidentally after running 13 miles on purpose.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:23 AM on September 26, 2013 [55 favorites]

This makes me wonder why I'm still running 8-minute miles.
posted by helpthebear at 8:26 AM on September 26, 2013

According to her, the half marathon started in front of the marathon and that the 'winning' run was short of marathon distance.

"Also, the sun was in my eyes. And there was a headwind."
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:29 AM on September 26, 2013 [10 favorites]

If the half marathon start line was really 100 meters in front of the full start, that's .06214 miles. With the inability of anyone to run tangents, I'm pretty sure she ran at least 26.2 miles. My first marathon clocked at 26.68. .06 miles would not have made a difference to me either way.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:33 AM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

The woman who got 2nd (and who would've won had Fitzmaurice not made the mistake) was 2 minutes behind Fitzmaurice, so even if you count the 100-meter difference, I think it's probably okay.
posted by rikschell at 8:33 AM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sure, but everyone gets to try to run the tangents. Not everyone gets to start 100m ahead.

I dunno, I feel like the whole point of a timed, competitive race is that it's carefully timed over a carefully laid out distance. That's why they post a detailed certification on their site. I know it's only 100m but if you're just going to start shrugging off course differences then you might as well drop the timing entirely and call it a Color Run.

That's assuming that she did run a short course, which I don't know. I don't imagine the race is going to be in a big hurry to respond to this, either.
posted by ftm at 8:42 AM on September 26, 2013

Smokey, this is not 'Nam.
posted by zamboni at 8:43 AM on September 26, 2013 [9 favorites]

Interesting story. I wish we could all agree to put the word "hero" on ice for a while.
posted by Outlawyr at 9:01 AM on September 26, 2013 [6 favorites]

What's really interesting to me about this is how much this highlights the mental aspect of running marathons. If you don't know how much you've run, you can actually run much longer and faster. It reminds me quite a lot actually of the incredible Diane Van Deren, who can literally run for days because of a lobectomy that interrupts her ability to judge the passage of time.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:07 AM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Good for her. I'm pretty sure that if you asked me to run twice as fast as I'd planned, my response would have been "wibble".
posted by arcticseal at 10:52 AM on September 26, 2013

If you don't know how much you've run, you can actually run much longer and faster.

Happens to me constantly. If I don't pay attention to what time it is when I get up in the morning, I can just about start the coffee brewing before paralyzing panic sets in about being late for work. But if I accidentally look at a clock: game over.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:02 AM on September 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

I imagine this happening to me on pretty much all of my training runs. I picture myself at the finish line all, "oh golly, I won? I didn't even mean to!"
And then I get invited on to the Olympic team.
posted by honeyx at 12:18 PM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm reminded of this late twenties girl, who was out of shape and decided to train for triathlons to lose some fat.

Trained a little, went out for her first local sprint triathlon and won it easily.

She then went on to compete at a national level...

I secretly hope that I have this kind of hidden talent that will show up in the next few years, too. Somehow I doubt it.

I doubt it very much.
posted by Riton at 12:41 PM on September 26, 2013

Yikes, talk about some sour eggs on that Runner's World article. 100 metres means jack shit in most marathons and anyone who places in one would know that if their ego wasn't being blinded.

It's interesting, I get that this Karen lady is obvs competitive, and I don't hang out with a lot of competitive runners, but yeesh - most of the of the running culture I interact with is super-supportive and also, most of the runners I know are always racing against themselves, and places are neither here nor there. roomthreeseventeen is that your experience too?

More broadly, this is also a testament to proper and appropriate training. A 1:28 women's half is a great time, but it's awesome to me seeing someone that had obviously trained conscientiously and carefully to be able to crack out the full mara.

Not taking away from anyone who runs any distance, but I see so many people doing runs that they're really not prepared for appropriately. Best case scenario, they're really sore afterwards, and the race kills running for them for a while. Worst case scenario they do permanent damage to their bodies.
posted by smoke at 5:04 PM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

To be fair to Karen, she posted again later and said that after reading the race rules, she agreed that the decision was correct, and she was happy that the race director commented and said that next year they actually would disallow switching from half to full but this year they had no rule against it.

I don't know, I don't think the 100m is a big difference, but the 'running against each other' seems more relevant. People match themselves to the competition (see pacers), and it could easily have made a difference to the woman who came second if she'd been competing against this other woman from the start, instead of presumably never even seeing her because FitzMaurice started 100m and a few hundred people in front of her. (It sounds like the marathon runners started behind the half marathon pack, and the road was split to start with? Sounds complicated).
posted by jacalata at 5:22 PM on September 27, 2013

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