When Kade Lovell didn’t cross the finish line of the 5k he was running, his mom started to worry about her kiddo. The 9-year-old was a good runner, and the 5k course of the St. Francis Franny Flyer in Sartell, Minnesota, just wasn’t that complicated, so where the heck had he gone?
“I didn’t know if he was hurt, or if he was lost, or worse,” his mom, Heather, told Minneapolis NBC affiliate KARE 11,
She said that Kade is a competitive, experienced runner and he likes to run at the front of the pack — but the weather during the race would worry any parent.
“It was downpouring and thundering the whole race from when the 5K and 10K racers took off at the same time, so I thought maybe he was having a bad race,” she told Runner’s World. “Then I see a group of kids he is usually in front of or running with and he wasn’t anywhere to be seen.”
Heather Lovell then started to get worried.
“I had everyone looking for him, even a fireman,” she told KARE. “I was like, ‘You need to go find my son.'”
But she soon found out that Kade was just fine. A bit panicked, and somewhat tired — but well.
Though Kade had signed up for the 5k race, he’d been directed into a wrong turn by a volunteer on the course — and that meant he was now leading the 10k!
“The 5k turn was right, but the girl came in and said, ‘keep running straight,'” Kade said of the moment when he made the turn onto the 10k course. “So I kept running straight.”
He ran a ways without seeing anyone, he told Runner’s World, but kept going.
He didn’t figure out he was running twice as far as he intended to until he reached a sign that read “10k turnaround.”
Kade kept going — at a sub-8-minute-per-mile pace. As the boy finally passed his mother, she yelled out that he was in trouble and he started crying. Following the end of the race and subsequent explanations, though, they were just glad he was safe and had completed the race.
Then they found out that Kade ended up winning the 10k with a time of just over 48 minutes. The second-place competitor was a 40-year-old woman who finished about a minute behind the 9-year-old boy.
“He actually probably did better than he normally does because he was trying to finish and in panic mode,” Heather Lovell said.
KARE 11 shared the story about Kade’s bigger-than-expected victory on their YouTube channel:
Kade had never run that far, even in training, so he was pretty wiped out by the race. Runner’s World reported that he went home for a recovery soak in an Epsom salt bath.
But we hope he bounces back quickly, because he has some work to do: Kade is now training to run in the U.S.A. Track & Field National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in Madison, Wisconsin, in December.
Way to go, Kade, and good luck at the Junior Olympics!