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8577 Views 37 Replies Latest reply: Jan 29, 2010 3:58 PM by disneygal2 1 2 3 Previous Next
Ryan in Boulder Amateur 8 posts since
Aug 11, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Jan 21, 2010 2:31 PM

Is it ok to enter a race knowing you will be last?

Hello All,


I am getting back into running after a knee injury, although I have always been a slow runner.  I am motivated to train more if I have a race on the calendar, so I signed up for a 4 mile race.  I looked at the 2009 results and see that the slowest man in the event was 39 min, and based on my training runs I will be closer to 48-50 min. 


Knowing that I will be holding up the awards and after race festivities by 10 min, makes me feel bad for the other runners and I wonder if I should drop out.


What do you guys think?

  • jenny1559 Rookie 1 posts since
    Oct 1, 2007

    I was last in a recent 10k event.  Someone has to be last It's not like you are talking 10 hours.  It's just a few minutes.  Go for it and run for yourself.  Who cares what time the others run.

  • disneygal2 Legend 455 posts since
    Sep 30, 2009

    It takes a strong person with great character to sign up for a race when they think they might  be last.   I think you are that person of character by your post.  Others will be inspired by your finish.  As it is said many times on here: " you are beating all of those that are home on their couch."  I wish you the best.  Please sign up and let us know how it goes.  Then you will have a personal time for you to work on improving.  That is all that matters!   Oh and have fun and know that we are all rooting for you!




    Couch to 5 K Graduation Day November 26, 2009

    Dana Hills Turkey Trot  Thanksgiving Day 2009 5 K....  Time 32:22  MY FIRST 5k

    Jan 9 Irvine 5k Time 32:52

    Feb 7 Super Bowl 10k  1:08:31  MY FIRST 10K

    September 5 2010  DISNEYLAND HALF MARATHON:  2:41:00

  • Jona571 Rookie 3 posts since
    Jan 20, 2010

    You mention getting back in to running after an injury.  I would NOT enter if pushing yourself might risk re-injury and further set back of your recovery.  That said- No shame in finishing last.  Some events have specified time limits, & I would not enter if I were pretty certain I would miss the limit.  Otherwise- go for it & have fun!

  • RunninUte1 Rookie 4 posts since
    Jan 21, 2010

    Don't worry about it. And just because you run the same distance in 48-50 minutes doesn't mean you won't run faster on race day. There is something about "race day magic" that makes you run faster.

    Especially don't worry about what someone else ran last year.. You might make it one of your race goals, but don't stress about it if you don't. Do like marathoners do. 3 goals: Perfect day, good day, acceptable (finish upright)


    In September my wife walked a 5k and finished in about 59 minutes. She was close to last but I don't think she was. It was her first. When we did the local Turkey Trot in November she walked it in 57 and change. On a tougher course.



    See you on the roads....

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    Of course it's OK!  If nothing else, the person who would have been last until you came along will be happy to have you there!    The after-race festivities usually start at a set time, regardless of who has or has not finished.  It is common for award ceremonies in longer races, such as marathons, to be complete well before the last finisher.




  • woodwoman Amateur 88 posts since
    Jan 30, 2007

    When I started running a few years ago, someone here mentioned this formula and I still think of it often:


    In other words, finished last is better than didn't finish is better than didn't start.

  • Graceful Lady Rookie 3 posts since
    Nov 18, 2008

    I am a polio/post polio survivor who has dealt with this question ever since I started running in February of 2008. I was not the last to finish the Boston Marathon because I had an early start for mobility impaired runners but have been the last to finish in many, many road races. I had to take a hiatus from running after the Marathon to heal and now I am slowly getting back to it. I am so glad you posed this question because I was debating whether or not to return to the running circuit - I am a slow runner and know that to remain injury free I cannot put myself too hard but now that I have read the replies about finishing ahead of those who stayed home and did not even attempt to run - I'm gonna get back out there. Thank you for sharing and see you on the roads! Good luck and let us know how you did. By the way, it's true about people being inspired with effort and heart.

  • cyndi t Legend 1,061 posts since
    Aug 11, 2008


    Absolutely go and run that race.  As a slow runner, I finished pretty close to back of the pack in my first HM and they had already started the ceremony by the time I was done (and the other slower runners).  They won't wait for you so don't worry.  As long as the race doesn't have an official cut off time, you're good.  And absolutely hold your head high and be proud....finishing is awesome no matter what the time in my book.  Its hard being the slowest in a group but trust me, your running is inspiring someone or wil inspire someone to get off the couch themselves.  Good luck!



  • spicegeek Community Moderator 2,563 posts since
    Jan 14, 2007

    wow thats a fast field that everyone ran under 10 min miles ... is it some kind of specialist race ?


    As long as you can finish within the cut off time ( if any ) that the race has go ahead ... but don`t be upset if someone is slower

    NYC Marathon          Nov 1 2009     -   4:03:13 ( 9:17 mm )

    NYC Half Marathon   Aug 16 2009   -   1:55:38 ( 8:49 mm )

    1 mile -  7:07                             10K     - 52:58 ( 8:32 mm)

    4 mile - 31:35 ( 7:53 mm)          8K      - 42:28 ( 8:32 mm)

    15K -     1:22:02 ( 8:49 mm)

    Find the Half Marathon Team on FACEBOOK

  • jcrule Amateur 228 posts since
    Jan 9, 2001

    I agree with the others, go for it!  Just remember to stay relaxed and start at the back.  I remember my first 5K and having people pass me really got to me mentally, which affected my running.  Also, think of this as your first PR (personal record) that you can strive to beat in your next race!  ;-)  Just go and enjoy the fun and excitment of the morning.  ;-)


    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Upcoming Races:

       ~ Love'em or Leave'em Valentine's Day Dash 5K - 2/13/10 (32:50)

       ~ Some local St. Patty's Day 5K, gotta register for one - 3/13/10

       ~ Birch Bay Road Race 5K - 3/27/10

       ~ Need to register for a 10K before June

       ~ Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Half!!!!!  6/26/2010

       ~ Danskin Triathlon (Sprint) - 8/15/10

  • This IS my race pace Pro 103 posts since
    Oct 19, 2007

    Just out of curiosity - how do you know you'll hold up the awards ceremony?  The last time I checked, when they determine the awards they just look for the first finisher(s) in each category and go from there.  I've seen races where awards were given literally hours before the final finishers came across.  With all due respect, I hope you'll forgive me if I say that it almost seems as if you're looking for a reason not to run.  The only reason you need to not run is that you don't want to or aren't healthy enough to, and in the end that's your call alone to make. You don't have to prove anything to anyone.  I think if you were looking for someone to tell you "don't run" - you've come to the wrong place, my friend.   Asking a group of runners if you should run a race or not is like asking a chocoholic if you should finish off that last corner piece of double-chocolate cake w/ all the extra frosting on it.


    Good luck and what ever path you choose for race day, I hope you enjoy it.  That's the main thing, right?

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