Stop the press. Tell Jess Ennis-Hill to stand down. We have a new favourite runner, and it’s a 12-year-old girl from New York who just accidentally breezed through a half-marathon.
LeeAdianez Rodriguez had signed up for a 5km race as part of the Rochester Regional Health Flower City Challenge, in upstate New York. When she arrived at the starting line, a half-marathon – which was taking place on the same day – had just begun. Thinking that she was late for the 5km, Rodriguez set off with the other runners.
About halfway through the 13.1-mile (21km) course, Rodriguez realised that she was in the wrong race. But rather than stop, she decided to keep going, completing the half-marathon in a very respectable time of 2:43:31. She was among the youngest to run the race.
The average time for an adult woman running a half-marathon in the US is 2:21:22, according to the most recent Running USA Annual Half Marathon Report.
When she didn’t appear on the 5k finish line, Rodriguez’s mother, Brendalee Espada, started to panic and alerted the police. They found her on the half-marathon.
“She just wanted to finish the race,” Espada told the Democrat & Chronicle. “Two hours after I started looking for her, I see that one of the officers found her. And I see she has a medal.”
Espada said that her daughter loved the race, and that she’s planning to run another 5k in May.
“But this one? We’ll run it together at the same pace,” Espada said. “Even if she wants to run ahead, she’s staying with me.”