What is it like to come last?

Hi all

 Have entered my first 10k race, with the ambition of just getting round.... but I look at the times for last year, and running as I do now, i will DEFINITELY be last. I know that someone has to be, but I'm not sure I'm ready for it to be me. I have 5 months to prepare. 

 Has anyone come last? What is it like? Any tips? Should I withdraw? 




  • 5 months?, blimey, you've got stacks of time to improve.

    As for coming last, I've never come last, however, from what I have seen, people towards the back of the pack tend to get a great deal of support from the spectators and those that have already finished.

  • I have never come last either but I can safely say that no one will be pointing and laughing at you if you do, as Dano says most stragglers get a lot more support than you'd expect.

     Take the Great South Run on Sunday, I was walking back to my car and there was a lone guy in his wheelchair just passed the 5 mile marker and everyone he passed gave him a " Go on mate keep going" or "Almost there mate"

  • If you come last and don't think you will because everybody joins in at these races and some folks are slower than other's, you can expect to get more people egging you on and clapping than if you can first. It's the rules so don't worry and well done for doing it. Like above 5 months is bags of time so whatever you do DON'T PANIC! image
  • i had the same attitude when i entered my 1st race a 5k i had 3months i downloaded a couch to 5k podcast on my i pod (if you like running with an i pod!) and it starts nice and easy 3min run 3min walk and goes upto 30mins continuous running

    i achieved 30th place out of 55

    just the fact you have entered gives you the believe to do it it doesnt matter if you do come last as long as you do yourself justice

    good luck with the training and keep us updated with it x

  • I always come last..........image
  • Thanks everyone, that makes me feel much much better. I just want to get round without walking. Should I get my family to come and cheer me on, or not?

  • LindsD wrote (see)

    Thanks everyone, that makes me feel much much better. I just want to get round without walking. Should I get my family to come and cheer me on, or not?

    again i felt the same way and right upto the day i felt like i would let them down but they insisted and just knowing they are at the finishing line makes you work that little bit harder to get there
  • My wife finished last in a 10k a while ago, she got a big cheer and lots of congratulations for sticking at it.
  • If you think it might help, yeah, why not.

    I did my first ever 10k without any support from family, and TBH, there was enough general support for me not to miss it.

    Since then, at least one member of my family has been at many of my races, not sure it makes any difference, but its nice to have some support, although my latest 10k, my mum was at about 7k, and I was working quite hard, she shouted to me "Is it hard work", I muttered some expletives under my breath, of course its bloody hard work!!!!

  • I was joint last (with my friend) in one of my early 10k races.

    We got lots of cheering and clapping (and not just 'cos the marshals wanted to go home.....)  image

    It really doesn't hurt image

    (and good for you for entering!)

  • my mum hugged me!!!!!!!!!!!!!! dunno if that was a good thing blinking embarrasing thoughimage
  • If you get your family down you can get them to look after a big pile of food for a picnic treat well done type thing for after the race. image
  • now that's a good idea. Hopefully it will be good weather. Another question (should I start a new thread?). I usually run in the late evenings, but this is a 9am race - how will that affect me?
  • I've been joint last and went through the finish line hand in hand with the one other backmarker to huge chears and applause.  It was great! image  

  • I'm not going to answer the original question because so many other forumites have.  Re the morning race, why don't you start running in the mornings to get used to it?  You will have to get up really early on race day to have breakfast, travel, warm up etc, so why not start doing that now?
  • Thanks - not sure it's practical for me though - have 2 small kids who get me up early, and still struggle to get to work for 10. Could try it at the weekends. How much warm up will I need to do on race day? And how long between breakfast and running? sorry if these things are answered elsewhere - just point me to the right bit of the site.
  • LindsD, i've been last in a race, and it didn't bother me as much as I thought it would have!  lets face it, someone has to come last, even if it was only elites running....they never cross the line all at the same time.  As others have said, you've got plenty of time to keep training and improve your speed etc etc. 

    What kind of warmup do you do at the moment?  i have to admit i never warm up before a race, but i'm so slow anyway that my whole race is a warm-up image  I would say don't do anything different on race day to what you'd normally do in training, so if you warm up now, do the same thing on the day.  If you can try and do a few early morning runs before teh race (weekends probably best for you) then you'll know if you feel any different.  You may have to get up extra early if you want to eat brekkie and leave enough time for it to digest (say 60-120 mins? Depends on what suits you best).  A lot of things come through trial and error, so try out all the things you're not sure of in plenty of time so you're not worrying on the day.

    Get your friends and family there....they can hold on to your bag for you and provide food at the finish like Cake said...RESULT! 

    Happy training image

  • I just came last in the marathon I did on sunday (5.15) it was hot (abroad) and I had a terrible race (many things went wrong) but I couldn't have given a toss, my son (5) ran across the line with me and as I passed out on a chair told me "well done mummy - you did it."

    I've come nearly last and have to say being actually last is better.


  • CindersCinders ✭✭✭

    Aw that's sweet of your little boy SandO

    I've come last more than once, last time was when I did a fun run when pregnant and I got a huge cheer.  I'd def say get your family there to cheer you on too image

    As for how long between running and breakfast I'd say try at least an hour but try things out.  Some people can run quicker than others after brekkie.  What sort of breakfast are you currently eating before running?

  • SlugstaSlugsta ✭✭✭


    The piccy is of me - in the days when I actually was a runner image

  • Thanks so much everyone - you are so helpful and nice. I hope some of you (or people like you) will be there on the day. I will try the tips (getting up early on the weekend, seeing how long I need after breakfast etc.) and report back. The article is really helpful too - thanks Slugsta!
  • Try beingg the last swimmer in a n open water triathlon- you get lifeboats, canoeists, coastguard- what an entourage!!!

    Brilliant fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Good Luck and good for you.

    I love having my family to support but it doesn't happen often as Sunday runs clash with their sports activities.

    There was one fairly local HM that meant they could get there in time to see me finsih after their sports.

    They turned up just in time to see me run in and as they didn't see anyone else go through before me, the younger one thought I'd won!

    Priceless. As I'm never ever likely to win anything, I will cherish the moment.image

    And 5 months is a long time to get some speedwork into your training and see if you can speed up.

  • I was last in my first ever 5 mile race - with local club events you sometimes get a special prize for being last

    It was fine every one really cheers you in and the marshalll are partly grateful to see you as it means they can go home but I didn't mind that as they were smiling at me

  • Slugsta - and there's me a bit further down the page! image

    (I wasn't last though - honest!)
  • being last is OK because you are a true winner for doing itimage
  • There's nothing wrong with coming last!

    We just need to remember why we run in the first place. And that, regardless of position, we made the effort and didn't just decide to sit in a chair and watch re-runs of Quincy.   image

  • Nothing wrong with coming last. The fact you are entering and challenging yourself is enough. I always think i am going to come last and haven't so far. But towards the back you get soo much support.

     Don't worry, train and have fun.

  • I came last running my 1st all terrain race.

     I had lot's of applause crossing the line.

    A lot of people clapping were probably thinking he may be last but I could have never done it!

     I do not care about coming last, running is all about finishing a challenge for me.

     I may be last in my next race as well if I don't step up my training!

  • I've been right at the back of a triathlon before now - and it was a 2 lapper. So far off the back that people thought I was the leader !

    Actually the same happened in a bike road race too.

    Don't worry about it and enjoy the race !
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