Fear of coming last

I've completed a few 5k and a 10k run and have entered my first half marathon in May. In any race I've done I get really anxious about coming last, to a point where instead of concentrating on running and enjoying myself I want to constantly check over my shoulder to see if I'm last. The rational side of me knows it really doesn't matter and its about my personal best, but it spoils every run I enter into and prevents me entering others. I dread to think how I'll be for the half, when I know it'll be a callenge for me anyway. Any tips on how to overcome it and do others have the same feelings ( make me feel a little less silly about it!).


  • dovesville.....i have come last in races and the reception I have had was wonderful.......i always think someone must be last so why not me...........I have also come first lady in a couple of smaller races.........the cheers and the great feeling of crossing the finish line was the same whether first or last.just relieved to have finished image

  • Try and focus on who is just in front of you and tell yourself that you will take them down
  • I was once second last in a race, ahead only of a girl who had stopped to be sick. I had mistakenly entered, not realising most of the other entrants would be members of the local university cross country team image . Trust me, it's not the end of the world, and as Seren said - somebody has to be last.
  • You are not last. Just by turning up you've beaten all those who didn't have the courage to enter, all those that started training for the race by fell by the wayside for whatever reason, all those who entered but for some reason didn't show up on the day.

    Enjoy your race. image

  • Dovesville, as you and all the others have said, it wouldn't matter even if you were last, but assuming it's just a fear and you aren't normally when you do races, try looking up last year's results for the races you want to do and seeing where the time you'd expect to take fits into those. You might find there are likely to be more people behind you than you think.

  • Some really good things here to get me to start thinking differently (I hadn't realised until I started running how one of the most difficult things is training your mind - never mind the legs!!). Really like the idea of concentrating on the person just in front, rather than behind and also beating all those people who won't even make it out of the front door.

    This is my first post on here and I was worried that no one would reply.....I think there's a pattern there somewhere!!
  • Dovesville wrote (see)

    This is my first post on here and I was worried that no one would reply.....I think there's a pattern there somewhere!!

    See we runners are nice people really..so even if you come last no one will take the piss,..just getting to the start line is more than 99% of the population have done..you go for it..image

  • I am happy to be last .....doesn't give me a nice trophy to add to my collection but then racing is more than collecting trophies.........its about challrenging yourself

    hope you can enjoy the next race Dovesvilleimage

  • The thing is, even if you were to come last, nothing would happen - except you'd get a huge cheer from the spectators and marshals at the finish image  No-one will laugh and point.

    As suggested, look at the times of the finisher in previous races and you'll see roughly where you might come, it might reassure you a bit.

  • I've nearly come last in a few races and its worrying i know!
    But also, if you stay and watch everyone over the line, you will realise that as Wilkie says, the last person usually gets the hugest cheer!
    If it happens, just smile and bow. Otherwise, dont worry, and enjoy the race image

  • mikasamikasa ✭✭✭

    When I entered my first half marathon last year, they asked you to put an estimated finish time. I put on the time I wanted and I was in the first wave. However, training didn't go as planned and by mile 5/6, the first ones of the second wave started overtaking me and towards the end I felt like I was the only one from the first wave still running in the midst of all of the second wave. So, I didn't train as well as I could've, and I didn't achieve the time I wanted, but it was my first half mara and I managed to run all the way and in the end was proud of that achievement. Don't worry about others, you're doing this for yourself, testing your limits and finding out what to do better next time. Enjoy your running and racing! Good luck.

  • I came last in a triathlon a few years ago. I was last in on the bike section but still had a chance of a decent time on the run but ended up running with someone else and although my run time was my slowest ever for the distance, it was the most memorable and enjoyable I've ever experienced.

    The support from those who hung around at the finish was awesome.


  • Final position is always misleading anyway. Deepdown I know that considering gender and age I am probably the worst runner in the whole race but I get to finish a little way forward from last. It is easier for me that my "last" place is less obvious to others but either way it is just spurring me on to get better, faster and fitter.

    In the end you are only racing yourself.

  • I cam last in my one (and only) off road duathlon. Once you have done it, it doesn't matter any more, and it's still better than a DNF or a DQ.


  • There is of course a huge difference between "just" coming last, and coming in say 30 minutes after the second from last finisher on a 10 k, or two hours after the next one in a marathon...

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