Being lost on a run in a foreign country is a terrifying experience. Just ask US 800m runner Molly Beckwith-Ludlow.

“It was 2010 when I got a call from my agent saying he wanted me to race overseas in Holland. At the time I was in my senior year at college and I'd never been out of the USA before and my response was 'What? In Europe? Outside of my country?'

“I didn't even have a passport, so within 48 hours I got my passport and 24 hours later I went to Europe. My family was blown away because my parents had never left the US before. I was scared to death travelling by myself.

“My agent had set up a training camp for his athletes and we were based out of an apartment in this small town in the Netherlands. I was dropped off at about 3pm and I had to get my long run of 45 minutes to an hour in that day.

“I just remember thinking, I'm just going to go out and get my long run over with. I left the apartment, but I took off running without looking at the street name. I ran into this park area and made sure as I entered the park area to make a mental note of the park entrance. Yet when I exited the park, and because I didn't know the street name I was looking for, I didn't know where I was going.”

A few photos from my time in Australia so far! An "Australian Rules" (footy) football game with the crew @melissagergel @sassysandra7 @rudisha800m, the beautiful city of Melbourne, & the Sydney zoo 🐨🐒🐅

A photo posted by Molly Ludlow (@molly.ludlow) on


A few years on from her baptism of fire, Beckwith-Ludlow can be classed as a seasoned globetrotter

“Panic started to set in. All the street names looked the same to me. I started freaking out. I must have run two or three miles to try and find where I was. I started crying. I tried to talk to people but nobody could speak English, when one woman looked at me and pointed to a house. I knocked on the door.

"It must have been the luckiest moment of my life when it turned out the occupant was an English teacher. I was bawling my eyes out, but he welcomed me into his house, gave me some water and we set off on a bike [I was on his wife's bike] to find the apartment.

“We must have cycled around the city for two hours but we had no joy. All the houses looked the same to me, so we went back to his house. At this point I decided to call my mom, which was the only number I knew, but I couldn't reach her because she was at church. It took several tries before I reached her and she found the number of my agent who told me the address.

“At about 7.30pm I finally returned to the apartment – which was only half a mile away from the English teacher's house. I walked in sweating and crying and all these American athletes who were watching TV looked up at me and said 'you've been gone for a long time. It must have been a long run?' I said 'I was lost and nobody cared about me.' At the time it was very traumatic. I was this little girl lost in the Netherlands. It was so scary.”

N.B. Molly Beckwith-Ludlow has not gone missing overseas since. She always takes down a note of the address where she is staying and carries her phone with her at all times.