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Not a bad turnaround as child goes from 263rd position to first and then makes the nightly news.

An elementary school kid running in a local long-distance footrace in Kasaoka City in Okayama Prefecture has miraculously come from dead last to being announced the winner of the race, sort of like a real-life example of the fable of the tortoise and the hare.

So how does someone actually go from 263rd to first in a three-kilometer (1.9-mile) race?

Well, it turns out that the first 262 children (not the tykes shown in the above image) took a wrong turn half-way through the course and ended up running only two kilometers of the three-kilometer race. The child who finished first clocked am especially speedy time of 6 minutes and 51 seconds, which must have alerted officials to every student but one running the wrong course.

The child who was coming in last place was accompanied by event officials and was directed on the right course.

You can watch the news story here in Japanese, which was reported by TV Asahi ANN News.

In the end, the first 262 children to finish the race were all disqualified and the last-placed, 263rd child was presented with the first-place award.

This child’s miraculous victory perhaps best mirrors Australian speed skater Steven Bradbury in the 2002 Winter Olympics when his four opponents fell over in the last lap of the 1,000-meter final for him to come from last to first place and snatch Australia’s first ever Winter Olympic gold medal.

Here are some reactions to the child’s miracle win from the Internet:

“Didn’t anyone notice during the race they had gone the wrong way?!?”
“Even if you’re in last place, if your opponents disappear you can win.”
“I bet the child who came in last didn’t even know what was going on. Haha”

There have been some strange things that have happened in Japanese footraces over the years including men running as anime magic girls, 115 runners being stung by a swarm of hornets, and police stopping “Chibatman” from participating in the Chiba Kenmin Marathon, but this one is one of the strangest yet.

Source: Jin115, TV Asahi
Top image: Flickr/Nishioka