Girl, 12, Accidentally Runs Half-Marathon


Joel Valley Contributor
Font Size:

A 12-year-old girl accidentally ran a half marathon Sunday after she confused the start of the race with the 5k she was registered to run, WHAM reports.

LeeAdianez Rodriguez-Espada was registered to run the Wegmans Family 5k in Rochester, N.Y. The five-kilometer race was part of the Rochester Regional Health Flower City Challenge. Rodriguez-Espada thought she arrived late to the starting line, so she quickly leapt into stride with the rest of the runners. However, she was unaware she was running the half-marathon.

She didn’t realize something was wrong until she completed her fourth mile. That’s when Rodriguez-Espada said she asked a fellow runner how long the race was.

“I asked her how long it was,” Rodriguez-Espada told WHAM. “She said, ‘Like 13 miles,’ and that’s when it struck me I was in the half-marathon instead of the 5K.”

Brenda Espada, Rodriguez-Espada’s mom, was at the finish line expecting to congratulate her daughter shortly. However, Espada knew something was wrong when competitors running the half-marathon began crossing the finish line before her daughter, The Guardian reported. She quickly alerted race officials and the police.

“We didn’t know where she was,” said Ellen Brenner-Boutillier, one of the race organizers, WHAM reports.

A police officer eventually managed to spot her on the half-marathon course. Rodriguez-Espada acknowledged that her family was worried, but was committed to completing the race she inadvertently entered, according to CNN.

“I see her with a medal and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, she ran the other one, like for real,'” Espada said. “She is just 12-years-old and she decided to just keep running and not giving up.”

Rodriguez-Espada placed 1,885 out of 2,111 runners. She completed the 13.1-mile course in two hours and 43 minutes.