At 9 years old, Kade Lovell from St. Cloud, Minnesota, was no stranger to running. Through a series of fortunate events, Kade’s 5K race on September 21 turned into a 10K run. The 4th-grader’s 1st place finish cast him into the national spotlight.
On the overcast morning of September 21, mom-of-four Heather Lovell took her eldest son Kade to the Francis Franny Flyer 5k run in Sartell, St. Cloud, Minn., most populous suburb. According to SC Times, Kade loves to run and finished his first 1k race (approximately .62 miles) at just 18 months. This particular race was the young boy’s way of training for the Junior Olympics running competitions held at the end of every year.
Heather went and found a spot on the 5k route, waiting for her son to pass by. As other participants neared the end of the race, Heather couldn’t spot her son. Kade usually finished in the top three positions and so she was slightly concerned. “This is weird. Maybe he’s having a really bad race,” Heather recalled thinking as she spoke to CNN.
But as the minutes passed and other slower runners crossed the finish line, Heather started to worry. “I know he should be in front of these people, or at least with them, if anything, and he wasn’t there,” she said.
Heather asked her mother to drive the 5k race route, but Kade was nowhere to be seen. She asked race officials and other runners if they had seen her son but no one gave her the right answer. Her worry turned into panic. “I was bawling,” Heather disclosed to the Times. “This had never happened before.”
Then Heather’s brother-in-law, who was running the 10k race, got a call from a spectator. Apparently there was a “cute boy who was doing really well,” in the 10k, The Washington Post reports. That cute boy was Kade.
At first, Heather was upset. “Why would he run the 10k? Why wouldn’t he tell me?” she told the Post. It turns out that the 5k and 10k races followed similar routes. When Kade reached the turn for the 5k, that’s when the mix-up happened. “A lady told me to keep going straight. So I kept going straight. I was a little confused,” he shared with the Times.
Kade soon realized his mistake when he saw a sign for the 10k turnaround. But the 4th grader was more concerned about what his mom was going to say than the fact that he was currently running the wrong race. “I thought my mom was going to be worried and when she gets worried, she starts to get a little angry,” the young runner told CNN.
When Kade saw his mother at the finish line he started crying and told her that he didn’t do it on purpose. As he tearfully explained what happened, a race organizer informed them that Kade had won the race. “I was like, ‘First in his age group?’” Lovell told the Times. “And she was like, ‘No, first overall!’”
The 9-year-old completed the approximately 6.2-mile run in just over 48 minutes and was a minute faster than the person who finished second – a 40-year-old man. Heather was in shock, telling CBS Minnesota, “I [went] from freaking out, to mad, to excited, to happy for him. It was like an emotional roller coaster in a 10-minute span.”
While Kade made the news as one of the youngest participants in a 10k run, Amy Palmiero-Winters made headlines when she completed the Marathon des Sables earlier this year, which People describes as an extreme ultramarathon that takes place in the Sahara Desert in Morocco, Africa.
Over 22,000 people have participated in the race since 1986 but Amy stood out when she became the first female amputee to complete the grueling race, which took 6 days and covered approximately 250 km (approximately 155 miles) under the blistering sun.
It was not easy trekking in the desert with a 19-pound backpack. NY Times reports that Amy had an allergic reaction, her skin peeled inside the liner of her prosthesis, and three of her toenails began to loosen. But she was one of 40 runners who crossed the finish line. 740 other participants were unable to finish the race.
Before she left home for the race, her 13-year-old daughter gave her a laminated note which she hung from her rucksack. It said, “Good luck. I love you. Don’t die.”