When Sheila Pereira heard about the Worcester City Half Marathon, she thought the race would be easy to get to because she lives in Shrewsbury.
It turned out the half-marathon was in Worcester, England.
After she realized she mistakenly signed up to run on the wrong continent, the 42-year-old decided to do 13 miles on her own in Worcester, Mass., on the day of the event, according to a press release from the British race organizers.
Steve Cram, whose company organized the Worcester City Half Marathon, said Pereira’s entry stood out from the others, but he didn’t think much of it at the time.
“We organize events throughout the country and some of them do attract entries from overseas,” Cram said in the statement. “Those are usually from runners who are visiting the UK for another reason and have taken the opportunity to take part in a race while here. That’s what we assumed that Sheila was doing!”
Pereira ended up running 13 miles near Lake Quinsigamond on Sept. 15, the day of the half-marathon in England, race organizers said. A screenshot from her Strava fitness app showed that she ran along Route 9, Plantation Street, Lake Avenue, and other streets in 2 hours and 5 minutes.
After Pereira explained what happened and sent them a screenshot of her running route, “we were only too happy to send her a medal and t-shirt,” Cram said in the press release. “We’d love to welcome Sheila in person next year — I don’t know much about Worcester, Massachusetts, but Worcester, England, is a beautiful city and well worth a visit!”
The story of the mixup ended up getting picked up by the BBC and Runner’s World.
Pereira said she was happy to participate, even though she was more than 3,000 miles away, “The love of running crosses boundaries and I hope to have the opportunity to take part in person in the future,” she said in the press release. “For now, I am so pleased that I will be getting my medal and t-shirt – thanks!”
Emily Sweeney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.