Have you ever been last in an event?



  • It was the county athletics championships at school and I was running in the 200m and I fell. By the time I got up everyone else was practiaclly at the end. I got up and ran the rest of the race finishing last by a massive margin with blood pouring down my leg. I didn't care about the pain - or the embarrassment of falling - I just wanted to finish. I'd rather have a slow time next to my name than walk away and get a DNF. 




  • Ive not been last, but I do my first a half marathon next year after a break of 19 years. Im going to be at least 40-50 mins or more slower than my first half marathon and could be towards to the back of the field. Still a long time to training. If I am at the back it wont bother me.

    What I most remember about my first half marathon isn't the time I got, I cant remember the exact time even though I know I certainly was  in the top third of the runners but the time of a friend who managed to complete it even though he was right to the back not quite last. He had recovered from a damaged knee ligament and the work/training he had to put in to be able to even be able to complete the race  was incredibly hard. There is no shame in coming last or at the back - how many people in the country can run a half marathon? Lets face it how many could run a 5K (run it not walk it!) . To be able to run 5k upwards at least means you are a reasonably fit and hopefully healthy person or working towards being one.


    You should be proud to finish simple as that.

  • Well the first thing to say is you may be last but you have finished which some won't.  You also started which the vast majority of the population didn't. 

    I am usually a mid-packer being around 8.5 minute miles these days.

    Several years back when i first really started running, I happened to be in the North-East visiting the wife's family. I saw a race on one evening which was close to where we were in the day and thought I would enter. It was a five mile race in Newton-Aycliffe. I was around an 8 minute miler then but hadn't quite got under 40 minutes for 5 miles. That would be easily mid-pack on most races.  However when i got there and entered on the night i suddenty realised this was very much a club runner event !! 

    It was three laps around an industrial estate and I got lapped by quite a few but expected that, however I did start to drop off the back and yes I finished last however it was in a PB and SUB 40 minutes.

    So I had a mix of emotions but on balance i came away happy. I had finished last by some way but had a PB and broken a time barrier. very strange. There weren't lots of marshalls to encourage me at the end but equally there were pretty much zero supporters and the runners had pretty much all gone as well.

    So don't worry about finishing last, just do your best and get around.

  • Wilkie,  One point to bear in mind though is that some races operate a cut-off andwithdraw support.

    However for half marathons it is usually not less than 3 hours and that is around 14 minute miles so OK. Plus they cna move you onto the pavement but can't really stop you running and although marshalls may get withdrawn most finish lines stay up somewhat longer than the cut-off.


  • WilkieWilkie ✭✭✭

    That's true, but as long as you're not too far outside it, most races will give you a bit of lee-way.

    One marathon I marshalled (a mile from the finish, in the pouring rain) allowed the last man to finish even though he was WAY after the cut-off.  The sweeper kept him company for the last few miles.

  • I did the Kendal mountain festival 10K fell run on saturday and was last male to finish.

    Loved it though and it was my first 10K race having done a few 5Ks and first time i have run off road! Great atmosphere and got lots of encouragement in the final 500 yards and even beat my target time by 8 mins.

    So last but last and happy!!

  • I was last in my first olympic-distance triathlon!  Got a huge cheer from everyone and a cup of tea waiting!  I also finished 4th from last in my most recent marathon, the tough Eden Project marathon last month.  I was running with the back marker until mile 8 when we caught up with another guy.

    Also been last in most of my club's closed races, but again, always the biggest cheer!

  • Yes, and won a bottle of wine for my pains, First fell race after 12/ 13 years of not running.

    Ran same race this year and just scraped into top 20.

  • One of my proudest running moments came whilst representing my school at 1500M. Went off far too fast (plus I was not very good) and started really struggling before the first lap was finished. Glumly watched everyone disappear into the distance (they were all in the year above me, in my defence) and then realised as I came down the home straight of my 3rd lap that I was about to be lapped by the leaders. Put my head down and kicked for home, crossing the line a nose ahead of the leaders…and then of course had one more lap to do. After my sprint "finish" my jog was barely more than a walk, but as I came to the final straight I found a bit extra and managed a second sprint finish with an added dip across the line for effect. Finished last by a good 150M, but received the biggest cheer of the day as I came down the home straight.

    Made me want to be an ultra-marathoner….

  • WaboWabo ✭✭✭

    I was last at Ruislip a couple of weeks ago.....

    possunt quia posse videntur - we can because we know we can 
  • Many years ago I was last in a Highland Games 3000m. Well I was third last with a lap to go and then the two runners behind me dropped out.

  • No shame in coming last!

    Came last in the Navy Champs 5k.

    There is always someone that you (if they had ran) would have beaten.

  • Wabo: I actually now look back and think, well I finished the races I finished last in.

    Tri Big Rich: I fully agree mate

  • ToroToro ✭✭✭

    Tri Big Rich - I came last at IS XC for RN - I believe it's a rite of passage.

  • Toro - Ha Ha well done. It doesn't hurt! I nearly did that series last year. But not in the forces any longer. Dropped down a level and running regular road races. harder to come last! although still hat off to the guys that give running a try!

  • Finishing last is still better than those who DNF or even those who did not try. 

  • you never finish last most of the nation dont make it to the start line anyway if you take the last position it will give me a chance. happy new year,Dennis the old codger

  • Dennis Finbow wrote (see)

    you never finish last most of the nation dont make it to the start line anyway if you take the last position it will give me a chance. happy new year,Dennis the old codger

    That's what i've always thought as well.  Someone who finishes is always better than someone who starts and someone who starts is always better than someone who just can't be bothered.

  • I came last once - pacing a friend round the Askern 10 miler. Would have been mean to do a sprint finish image

  • I used to do quite well when younger  (3:48 marathon, 44 min 10km)) but nowadays often finish last, especially in a triathlon - I'm female, 64 and have been running since 11 years old with one long (enforced) break of 6 months in 2012 after a hip replacement operation. so yes, all of you who finished a race did better than most of the population who can't even be  bothered to get out of bed on a Sunday until the pubs open!  image

    I used to be a bit embarrassed about being awarded age-group prizes, until my club mates told me not to be silly - you can only beat those who show up to race, tisn't my fault if no other W60s were there! More so this year, as I'm now in W65, living in Germany the age group changes on 1 January, you are in whatever AG you will be in on 31 December! Lots of older runners - but there's almost never any other female triathletes over 50. As Dale Winton says - you gotta be in it to win it.

  • bionic ironwolf you are a star keep going you are a young woman

  • Thank you Dennis! So far this year I've entered a 1km swim, 2 olympic distance triathlons and a half Ironman, looking at several more over the 2014 season.

  • I'm taking part in the Yorkshire XC Championships at Ripon today and I can say quite categorically that if I'm not last I'll be in the last three.  It's the experience that counts!

  • Bionic Ironwolf, seeing people like you doing things like Half Ironmans, really encourages me to look into doing something similar.  The run and the bike ride wouldn't be a problem, a 1.2mile swim though when definitely be way beyond my current capability, it'd be a 1.2mile doggy paddle.

  • Simon, all it takes is practice!

  • Running the South of England cross Country on Saturday and I will almost certainly be i nthe last 30 and possibly close to the back. I haven't finished last yet but have been close on occasion. Having said that I would normally finish in the top 2/3rds of most races.

    Triathlons are probably less well attended than road races still and only recently really gone to the masses so tends to be younger people doing them. So not surprised there are less older people and therefore you find yourself as the only one in your age group. That will change a lot over the next five years I imagine.

  • Perhaps they are in England, but here in Germany most triathlons sell out very fast once the web site opens. Unsurprisingly (to me anyway) there are always more older triathletes in an Ironman race!

  • Ok so there were 3 behind me at the South of England


  • There were 8 people behind me in my first half marathon, which I finished in 2:17. Very small race though, under 150 participants, and I got lost on a beach section of it when a sea haze rolled in so probably covered closer to 14 miles. 

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