This 12-Year-Old Accidentally Ended up in a Half Marathon, and Finished Anyway

So, I’ve never been what you would call an athletically inclined person. I definitely tried as a kid, believe me. I played many sports on several occasions and none of them went well. And when it was time to run the dreaded mile at school, well, I’m not even going to tell you my time because it’s that embarrassing. The sweating, the not being able to breathe, the anxiety of not wanting to finish last; I’m still traumatized.

And that was just one mile.

But a 12-year-old girl in Rochester, NY is showing my 12-year-old self up as she just completed a half marathon … by accident.

LeeAdianez Rodríguez was signed up to run a 5K as part of the Rochester Regional Health Flower City Challenge, but accidentally ran with the half-marathoners instead, adding an extra 10 miles to her intended run! Yeah, that’s right, this girl ran 13.1 miles on Sunday. NBD.

After being dropped off at the event by her mother, Rodríguez noticed people already lining up at the starting line. Thinking she was late, Rodríguez rushed over and just took off with the other 3,100 runners doing the half marathon.

It wasn’t until halfway through the race that Rodríguez noticed it was taking a little longer than usual to reach the finish line. But even after realizing her mistake, she decided to push on and finish the race anyway. While some people (OK, maybe just me?) may have used this as an excuse to stop, this amazing kid persevered.

Meanwhile, Rodríguez’s mom, Brendalee Espada, was more than a little concerned when she couldn’t find her daughter at the finish line of the Wegmans Family 5K, the original race her daughter had registered for. “It was such a scary moment, but rewarding for her in the end.” Espada told Democrat & Chronicle. “I don’t even know how she did it. I’m so proud of her.”

Espada spent nearly two hours searching for her daughter, talking with course officials and police officers, unknowing that her super-daughter was just completing a different challenge.

“She just wanted to finish the race,” Espada said. “Two hours after I started looking for her, I see that one of the officers found her. And I see she has a medal.”

Rodríguez was among the youngest to complete the half marathon and earned a medal for her 2:43:31 time. She then went home to enjoy a nice long nap, large meal, and a hike.

So what’s next on the list for this running champ? Well, Espada tells Democrat & Chronicle that they will be participating in The Color Run, a 5K race at the end of May. “But this one? We’ll run it together at the same pace,” Espada jokes. “Even if she wants to run ahead, she’s staying with me.”

Intended or not, this girl can run. Congrats, LeeAdianez. You keep on #winning.

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