Eight-year-old makes wrong turn, mistakenly wins 10K age group

Eight-year-old Nicholas Vandenberg missed the 5K turn at a recent road race and mistakenly finished the 10K winning his age group.

Nicholas Vandenberg made a wrong turn at a recent 5K road race and mistakenly ran the 10K course instead

Lindsay Rittenhouse | For NJ.com
Nicholas with his Trenton Double Cross 5K medal. Photo: Lindsay Rittenhouse | For NJ.com

An eight-year-old from New Jersey seemed better suited for the Trenton Double Cross 5K considering his training consisted of playing soccer and doing a few one-mile runs.

But Nicholas Vandenberg didn’t win the 5K because he┬ámade a wrong turn.

Instead, Nicholas doubled the distance winning the 10K beating the entire category of 14-year-olds in the process.

Overall, Nicholas finished 37th out of more than 1,000 participants and ran the course in 50:48.

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“I felt great,” Nicholas told NJ.com. “I even stopped a few times to tie my shoes.”

Nicholas’ father, John Hatch, signed the two up for the 5K but Nicholas outpaced his father and was out of sight early in the race.

Since the first portion of both the 5K and 10K courses are identical, Nicholas was running among competitors of both distance before heading straight when he was supposed to turn.

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The young boy asked competitors where the finish line was located after he had been running for an unusual length of time for a 5K, but was met with responses like “at the finish line.”

“I want to be a motorcycle rider, a motor cross rider, run in the Olympics, play soccer in the World Cup, be a NASCAR driver, but first be a rock star,” Nicholas said following the race.

Because Nicholas was originally signed up for the 5K, organizers didn’t recognize him as the age group winner but later sent him a medal after tracking down his 10K result.