Dad-of-two accidentally runs entire marathon after joining wrong queue for race

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A dad-of-two from Manchester somehow ran a marathon by accident after making a 'stupid mistake'.

38-year-old Mat Wheelhouse staggered to the finish line at the Manchester City Centre on Sunday morning having completed the 42.1km (26.2 mile) course in an incredible four hours and 47 minutes.

"Everyone has said this is the most Wheelhouse thing you could do. I am always doing stupid things," he joked.

Mat is luckily a keen runner after getting hooked during lockdown, and actually signed up for the Manchester half marathon to raise money for the Christie Hospital in memory of his late father, reports the Manchester Evening News.

Both of the races took place on Sunday, but Mat missed the half marathon by hours and had found himself in a queue full of runners preparing for the full marathon.

"I just assumed they started around the same time so I didn't really think any more of it," he said, explaining he'd looked at the wrong guide provided by the organisers.

"I thought something didn't seem quite right.

"Then I started seeing streams of people coming in who had just finished the half marathon."

Despite training mostly 5km (3.1 mile) and 10km (6.2 mile) distances, with the furthest distance he'd completed being 17km (10.5 mile), Mat didn't want to let those that sponsored him down.

A volunteer allowed him to upgrade to the full marathon and he bravely agreed.

He said: "I was so embarrassed because lots of people had sponsored me and I didn’t want to let them down.

"The woman said she could try and change my number and let me run in the marathon and then just dip out halfway through.

"But I wanted to make sure I got the medal and I thought if I don’t finish I won't get it, so I just decided to carry on running."

Mat ran the entire marathon on his own, whilst his unassuming wife was working and his two daughters were at home, and without music for the second half after his Air Pods ran out of charge.

He continued: "It was very painful towards the end. I think the last five miles were incredibly hard.

"The public were amazing though. I have never seen that amount of people out on the streets.

"I remember at one point bending over to catch my breath and I must have been patted on the back about 20 times. The comradery was amazing."

When Mat got home he was welcomed by a banner made by his proud daughter.

"I think I might try and do a marathon again next year but knowing me I will probably end up signing up to the wrong thing and doing a triathlon or something," he joked.

You can donate to Mat's fundraising page here.

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