super-fit schoolgirl is being heralded as a mini Mo Farah after she completed a half marathon by MISTAKE – when bungling race organisers sent her the wrong way.
Exhausted Nidaa Abbasi, 14, only realised she was in the wrong race when she suddenly saw a marker telling runners they had passed the FOUR MILE stage.
Dozens of youngsters lined up for the one-and-a-half mile Robin Hood mini-marathon in Nottingham on Sunday.
But when the lead car stalled, panicking race organisers misdirected the children, some as young as eight, onto the marathon course which is only open for people aged 17 and over.
While many of the young runners realised the mistake and dropped out, determined Nidaa kept on going until she finished the 13-mile course in just three hours.
Nidaa, from Nottingham, said: “The course of the mini marathon somehow mixed up with the half marathon course and I only realised when we passed a sign saying we were at the four mile stage.
“I decided to carry on, it was OK. By the end I was getting tired and I walked a bit. It was fun. I prepared for the mini-marathon, not the half marathon.
“I got to finish with my mum and dad who were taking part in the half marathon so it was nice to have photos together.
“I think you have to be a bit older to officially enter but I might do it again when I can. I felt it was a good achievement.”
Proud parents Naveed, 50, and mum Zeba, 48, both doctors, had entered the half-marathon while Nidaa and her nine-year-old sister Zafaa (corr) entered the mini-run.
Naveed said: “The younger runners were supposed to set off 20 minutes after the main half-marathon started but somehow about 70 or 80 youngsters joined the rest of the runners when the lead car stalled leading to a delay in the race.
“They younger runners ended up getting caught up with the main race.
“My nine-year-old daughter even got caught up with the adults but I spotted her and took her back to where she was supposed to be.
“We found out Nidaa was also with the main marathon when my wife called her on her mobile phone.
“By the time we contacted her she was at mile five and I told her that if she wanted to persevere to stay with the runners.
“We caught up with her on University Boulevard and stayed with her and kept giving her fluids.
“I’m actually a doctor and my wife is a GP so we knew she was fine and we supported her through it. It was a special moment for the family.
“She was absolutely exhausted and I was super proud – she’s our very own Mo Farah.”
Nick Pearson, race director of the IKANO Robin Hood half and full marathon, said: “We were very disappointed that two unfortunate issues arose on the mini marathon course.
“The lead car stalled shortly after the start and following this a group of runners were misdirected.
“We had over 700 staff out on the course all of whom received extensive briefings ahead of race day.
“We had 120 paid staff managing our volunteer marshals. Ensuring the safety of our runners and delivering a well organised event are our primary goals on the day.
“I’d like to apologise to anyone affected by these issues and offer them a refund on their mini marathon race entry.”
*Last week a coroner slammed the organisers of a fell race in the Lake District when runner Brian Belfield lost his way and died of hypothermia when organisers miscounted the entrants.
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