At the 2013 Run for Heroes Marathon, Meredith Fitzmaurice became the unlikely female winner simply because she went the wrong way.
Fitzmaurice had entered for the half marathon as a warm up to her first full marathon that was weeks away. The longest she had ever run was 20 miles. Running past her expected completion time, the realization hit her. She had missed her turn off. At this point, she had three options. She could just quit on the spot, accept her time would not be recorded, and get a race official to take her back to the finish line. She could run back to where she missed the cut-off and run several undocumented miles for her her thirteen mile race. Or, she could keep going and try to complete a marathon.
How many times have you been at a point in your life that is eerily similar? You messed up and you have one of three options. You can throw in the towel, go back to where you went off course and redo it, or make something better out of the mess you made.
Fitzmaurice kept going. Because she had pushed the pace, only expecting to run half the distance, she actually was the first women to cross the finish line. She took a mistake, that would have killed her time in the half marathon because of the extra miles she would have to run to get back on course, and made it a win in a bigger race.
Setbacks, detours, roadblocks, and errors are all part of life. Sometimes I wonder if they are just God’s way of getting us on the right path, one that we could never believe we are capable of taking. If FItzmaurice was asked at the starting line to run the full marathon, she would have said she wasn’t ready or she would have slowed her pace to one she thought was needed to complete the 26 miles and would not have been the winner.
I cannot count the number of times I have been in a frustrating place, not getting to where I want, and then suddenly I have been derailed to a path that takes me to a better destination, better than I could ever dream of. If you are hitting a setback or a detour, believe that it is repositioning you for great things. In the end, taking the wrong turn just may be putting you on the right path after all.