New Jersey Boy, 8, Accidentally Wins 10K Race

Cool story! A boy, 8, veers off track and ends up running a 10K race, instead of the 5K one he was signed up for. Of course, inhybrttzt
if he’d been in Connecticut, perhaps the police would have arrested his parents
for not keeping him safe at home. This story appears on, by Lindsay Rittenhouse. – L.

Nicholas Vandenberg was not much of a runner before November’s Trenton Double Cross Half Marathon event.

Most of the 8-year-old’s running came from soccer and a few one-mile fun runs.

Nicholas’s father John Hatch signed himself and his son up for the 5K portion of Double Cross event thinking they could have some father and son exercise time together.

Nicholas, though, soon left his dad in the dust and was gone. After a wrong turn, he accidentally ran the 10K race and won his age group – runners under 14.

And he finished a startling 37th overall out of over 1,000 runners.

Read the rest here! What a great illustration of the point that so often when things go “wrong,” they aren’t terrible. Just memorable. – L.


A boy goes Free-Range...accidentally...and wins the big race!

A boy goes Free-Range  — albeit accidentally — and wins the big race.



, , ,

16 Responses to New Jersey Boy, 8, Accidentally Wins 10K Race

  1. theresa hall December 14, 2015 at 10:29 am #

    I’m surprised they didn’t disqualified him for the 10k since he only signed up for the 5k.

  2. olympia December 14, 2015 at 10:36 am #

    Wow! Kid is FAST!

  3. Coccinelle December 14, 2015 at 10:46 am #

    I love the title!

  4. Warren December 14, 2015 at 11:05 am #

    Awesome story. I hope he gets credit for his win. Only signing up for the 5k may not allow credit in the 10k. On the other hand he is at least getting acknowledgment for his accomplishment via press and cheers.

  5. bob magee December 14, 2015 at 11:49 am #

    “After tracking Nicholas’s time, organizers sent him the first place medal in the mail.”

    He got his 1st place medal

  6. lollipoplover December 14, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

    “I want to be a motorcycle rider, a motor cross rider, run in the (Summer) Olympics, play soccer in the World Cup, be a NASCAR driver, but first be a rock star,” Nicholas proudly claimed.

    He also said he plans to retire as a mailman at the age of 85, because he’s good at “delivering messages at home.”

    I love this kid even more.

  7. EricS December 14, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

    What kids can accomplish if you just trust them and let them be kids. What you put in, is what you will get out of it.

  8. John December 14, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

    You know, this is great news and refreshing to hear! Every year or every month, I read some article about American kids becoming less and less and less physically fit than their parents were at their age. I read how American children have gotten fatter over the years with many more cases of type 2 diabetes among American youth. So it is nice, for a change, to read about a 2015 American youngster who has bucked that trend and is extremely physically fit!

    I’m just surprised that some “child advocate” somewhere is not calling an 8-year-old boy running in a 10k race, child abuse…..sigh.

  9. david zaitzeff December 14, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

    Oh, where’s my son?

    Where is my lost son?!!!

    This is 911, what are you reporting?

    Well, my son and I were running together . . . I am now at the finish line and I don’t know where he is.

    Though, nowadays, lots of runners in lots of races have little radio tags; you can actually locate them supposedly . . .

    What a story!

  10. Peter December 14, 2015 at 3:22 pm #

    Well, my son and I were running together . . . I am now at the finish line and I don’t know where he is.I gotta admit, if the Dad didn’t freak out, I give him props, too.

    …or from the sounds of it, maybe the son beat his Dad. So he was at the finish line when Dad slogged across…

  11. Steve December 14, 2015 at 4:20 pm #

    Great – Great – Great Story. You can usually do more than you think you can. This event has changed this boy’s perspective in many good ways.

    The boy could use this as proof to a future employer that he has had what it takes to go the extra mile for many years!

  12. E December 14, 2015 at 4:31 pm #

    @Peter, well the Dad ran half the distance than the son, so he (Dad) was indeed at the finish line before his son. Good on them both for staying calm. And props to the people who encouraged him to finish it up, even when he realized something wasn’t right and he thought about bailing to go home.

    The last 5k/10k I was at (Thanksgiving), as I left, I could hear the PA guy calling for “lost parents” because a kid got separated. So even if they hadn’t reconnected quickly on their own, the event could probably have helped.

  13. Barbara December 14, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

    It’s amazing what a kid can do if you just teach them what to do and send them on their way. A couple of years ago, my daughter (then 9) was ditched by her two brothers while riding around. (my boys, grrr). She didn’t have a phone with her but she asked for help from a mom (she knew she was a mom by the baby in the stroller). She got pointed in the right direction and made it home on her own. The mom didn’t have a cell phone with her. She offered to drive her home but my daughter thanked her but vehemently refused and took off on her bike. I also teach them safe help are police or firefighters, store employees, neighbors you know, etc. It really is so easy to raise an independent, capable child and the rewards are overwhelming.

  14. sexhysteria December 15, 2015 at 6:04 am #

    His victory shouldn’t surprise anybody. Kids are consistently superior to our dull expectations.

  15. Art December 15, 2015 at 9:30 am #

    Free rangers, I need your help. I found a news story that’s incorrect, it’s using that 1 in 4 girls abused fact that’s been debunked here, but I need the proof. My Google Fu fails me today.

  16. Heartfruit December 18, 2015 at 8:02 pm #

    I’m often disappointed when I see races advertising a kids race of 500m. Kids should be capable of running much more then that. I did a 5k Santa run a few weeks ago and it was so nice to see families of all ages running together.