Finish Line Etiquette – Part 1

If you’re a Mid-Pack Runner, then by definition there are folks finishing after you, some of whom may be radiant with achievement, some of whom are likely to be struggling for all they’re worth to achieve their goal.

Now I don’t want to take anything away from front runners – those Dionysian souls whose ability to take-in and process oxygen makes the rest of us look like we’re sucking atmosphere through a sippy-straw, but a part of me says if it takes a person more than twice as long to complete the course as the leaders took, then that person has probably worked way more than twice as hard.

Unfortunately though – and especially in small local events – by the time these dedicated souls come around the last turn, there may not be many spectators to greet them, and that’s a shame.

My suggestion is, after you’ve finished your own mid-pack run and taken a few minutes to catch your breath and grab a drink of water (and maybe free those tired toes from their running-shoe-captivity), consider spending some time standing ahead of the ‘Finish’ line, clapping and cheering for those who come in behind you. You don’t need to think up anything brilliant to say – most runners will be so focused on toughing out those last few strides that all they’ll register is the general hubbub – just make some noise with your hands and your voice, or by banging on something handy, and trust that they’ll appreciate it.

I’ve done this many times, and find it can be downright humbling to realize just how hard some runners push themselves, in full knowledge that they are finishing toward the end of the pack. Spend a few minutes shouting “Way to go runner!” or something equally banal, and chances are good you’ll find yourself gaining enthusiasm for your next Mid-Pack Run.

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