For years now, actually, ever since I became a runner, I was always afraid to be last in a race. It’s been a fear of mine since the dawn of my running career as a squarely middle-of-the-packer.
I am here to tell you today, I was last and I survived. It didn’t even hurt my ego one bit.
Monkey and I ran the local Toys for Tots 5k Race this morning and it was a cold 26° blustery day. He has never run further than 2 miles, but I didn’t want him to quit before he even started. We did a run-walk-run 30/30 ratio for the first mile, and then the rest we walked. He was cold and his pants were fleece which may not have been the best idea.
What I learned from being in the very last position, for more than half the race, was that people still cheer you on. Plus, when a little kid is running next to you they yell and holler even louder. If I wasn’t with Monkey, I wouldn’t have been last, because I would’ve run the race, but we were in this together and we did it together.
The cyclist who rode with the winners circled back around and let us know what our time was at 2 miles, then kept us informed the rest of the way. He even rode ahead to have the trumpeter play us a special request, “Jingle Bells,” while we rounded for the final loop.
At the end, a few nice souls were left and clapped us in and Monkey took off so he could definitely “beat” me in the race. I happily obliged, knowing this was the first time I had even been last in a race and now that fear can go take a hike.
If there weren’t 3 other kids under 14 in the race, he would’ve won an award. I’d say about 50 people max ran the race, so if I would’ve run I might have won an age group award myself, too!
This has been a big year for my running and racing. I’ve finally stepped back into it and didn’t give up, even though as this morning we both weren’t in the mood to run in the cold. Plus, I ran the longest I’ve ever run.
And now, I can safely say I know what it’s like to be last in a race. It was kind of special, and we got more special attention in that last mile than we would have otherwise. Being last, it ain’t so bad.