Kade Lovell thought he was supposed to take the right. That was the turn he was told to take at the St. Francis Franny Flyer 5K course in Sartell, Minnesota, but the volunteer stationed on the corner directed him to continue straight, so he did.

The 9-year-old kept going for what seemed like a while without seeing anyone. Finally, he saw a sign that let him know he had made a mistake.

“I was running and didn’t see anyone else around me,” Kade told Runner’s World. “Then I saw the sign that said, ‘10K turnaround.’ I knew I was supposed to turn earlier.”

Over by the finish line, Heather Lovell, Kade’s mom, stood waiting to cheer her son on as she did for most of his races. There were no youth cross-country teams in their hometown of St. Cloud, Minnesota, so 5Ks were how Kade got his racing in.

All the racing made Kade pretty fast: He will run at the junior national cross-country championships in Madison, Wisconsin, this December.

That’s why Heather grew nervous as 5K runners started coming to the finish.

“He likes to be in front of the pack,” Heather told Runner’s World. “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. Then I see a group of kids he is usually in front of or running with and he wasn’t anywhere to be seen.”

The concerned mother had her mom drive the course and look for Kade. The first go around, he was nowhere to be found. Another inspection in the car turned up the same result. Heather feared the worst.

“I ran to the finish line and found the coordinators and said someone needs to find him,” Heather said. “I’m freaking out, I’m crying, I’m flustered, and no one really knows what to do. A fireman is getting ready to search the course when I get a call my brother-in-law, who tells me there is a cute little kid in a red shirt running the 10K.”

That was Kade, who was red in the face and tired. He had already seen the 10K turnaround sign, but after he noticed there were only adults on the out-and-back section of the course to the finish, it set in what he was accomplishing: He was running farther than he had ever gone, even in training.

“I was little nervous,” Kade said. “I just thought I needed to go to the finish line. I didn’t really know what to do. I was really tired, and I just wanted to finish.”

Heather, unaware of the blunder that occurred and thinking Kade had just decided to run the 10K, was none too pleased when she finally saw him coming near the end.

“Here he comes, 8 to 10 minutes later, and I just yell at him, ‘You’re in so much trouble!’” Heather said. “He told me that a lady on the course told him to keep going and he started crying, but he finished the race.”

Kade explained himself once they reunited. Once both were on the same page, they were just happy he was back and done. Then organizers threw the Lovells yet another surprise.

“They told me Kade had won, and I was like, ‘Oh, he won his age group,’” Heather said. “They were like, ‘No. First out of everyone.’”

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Finishing in just over 48 minutes, Kade had beaten the entire 10K field. The next finisher behind him—age 40—was more about a minute back.

Mother and son were proud, but Kade was mostly tired. He went home and soaked in an Epsom salt bath.

From: Runner’s World US

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