So, what – or who – is a ‘mid-pack runner’ (an ‘MPR’)?
First off, if you step up to the starting line with any real expectation of leading the race and contending for the overall victory, you are not an MPR; you’re a Lead Dog, and my hat’s off to you. You‘ve earned the open road, the clear view. But:
If, instead, you start each event knowing there’s always going to be someone ahead of you to claim the big public prize and headline photo, then you are an MPR.
Maybe you’re someone who never thought of yourself as an athlete, and still feels a sense of surprise that you are out there doing what you are doing. If so, chances are very good that you are an MPR.
Perhaps you’re a really young – or somewhat old – runner who has a shot to place in your division but not the overall; in that case, you’re still an MPR, because you accept that there’s someone in their prime out there, who’s going to finish ahead of you, no matter how good your day.
If you accept, for whatever reason, that you will never be the fastest runner on the course, and look to find your satisfaction somewhere else; then you are an MPR, and you get my applause – for determination, humility, and creativity. For keepin’ on keepin’ on.