I used to avoid the idea of entering running races because I never wanted to be the one that came in last. And then it dawned on me. Someone has to be last. And so what if its me? Who cares what your time is or your rank? You finished something a good 90% of the population in your city did not even bother to wake up for. First, last, or somewhere in between, you gave ‘er shit and got ‘er done and lookee here, you have the t-shirt to show for it.
I read a tweet the other day that someone wrote about not bothering with a race because they feared they’d be last and couldn’t stomach it. The tweet was written by a person who is a very seasoned runner, clearly not used to anything but top ranking, and the idea of being in the back of the pack with us lowly “slow pokes” was reason enough to lace up on their own elsewhere, so as not to be embarrassed that someone might lump them in the same group as us. For shame. It makes me think that they are the type that would snicker when they see a heavier person out there walking/jogging/TRYING.
It prompted an “Unfollow”. True athletes support each other, are proud of each others effort and accomplishments. True athletes realize that waking up every day to slug it out with the pavement or the treadmill or the weights is an unending commitment and know that as long as they are out there trying, then they’re “one of us”. True athletes know that trying is the very best you can do. So long as you are trying, you are, in your own way, kicking ass. So long as you are trying, you are, in your own way, an athlete.
So to the tweeter who couldn’t possibly enter anything that might make them push themselves, possibly face the fact that theres always room for improvement, I say this: I may come in last, but I am not on the couch. I am not in bed. I am not sitting on my ass doing nothing. I am out here, with you, running, just like you are. And I’m trying my best. “Last” is better than “Did Not Finish”, which trumps “Did Not Start”.