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12-Year-Old Girl Finishes Half Marathon—Accidentally

The Short of It

If you've been thinking about running a half marathon but somehow keep finding every possible excuse not to do it, this girl's story might just be the impetus you need.

The Lowdown

Meet LeeAdianez Rodriguez-Espada, the 12-year-old girl who just completed a half marathon in New York—by accident.

Wait, what?

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Here's how it all went down: LeeAdianez, who goes by Lee, was set to participate in the Wegmans Family 5k in Rochester, N.Y., on Sunday. But she was running late, so her mom dropped her near the starting line before heading off to park the car. The race had already started, so officials told Lee to just start running.

But here's the thing: a 5k is a little over 3 miles. So when Lee hit mile 4 with the finish line nowhere in sight, she began to suspect that something was wrong. "And that's when it struck me I was in the half marathon instead of the 5k," she told CNN.

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The best part? Instead of dropping out when she realized her mistake, the tenacious young girl decided to just keep going.

The Upshot

Lee is one seriously impressive little lady! I can't say I would've kept going in the same situation. Although, who am I kidding—I probably wouldn't have entered a 5k in the first place!

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Meanwhile, while Lee was busy keeping pace, her mom was worried sick when her daughter failed to turn up among the runners crossing the 5k finish line. According to CNN, she quickly alerted race officials and the police, who eventually found Lee running the Flower City Half Marathon.

When she finally crossed the finish line after running not 3 miles but 13.1, her mom Brendalee Espada was there to meet her.

"I see her with a medal, and I thought, 'Oh my gosh, she ran the other one, like for real,'" the surprised mom said.

Lee finished the race in 2 hours and 43 minutes, placing 1,885 out of 2,111 runners.

"I'm really proud," she said, adding that her next race is this coming weekend. Her mom told CNN that she plans to run it too—if only to keep an eye on her daughter.

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