It's more a matter of resentment and hurt feelings to be passed near the finish. I see it at every race. Actually there is some strategy involved. You don't want to make your bid too early, if you do, the victim has a chance to recover and perhaps hold you off. That said, it's kind of tacky to roar by within a few feet of the chute.I thanked the guru, shared the information with my friend, and thought I had put the issue to bed.
Until (drum roll please), I was the passee at last night's St. George Island Summer Sizzler Race. Compared to last year, I really felt better about my endurance in this race, and at the splits, I thought I was easily going to come in under 40:00 (and yes, the "big" goal is to come in under 30:00, but the oppressive heat put many of us into survival mode!). When I was at 39:39 at the 3 mile mark, 40:00 was out of reach (darn it!). I was trying to put my all into getting across the finish line when footsteps came pounding up behind me and a runner I don't recall seeing all race came sprinting up beside me. Crap! By the time I mentally registered that runner's presence, I did not apply enough "oomph" to cross the line first and heard one of the finish line volunteers point out the color of her shirt for the volunteers up the line to know who had come in ahead of who. The humorous thing was that this runner kept up at full speed through the line, making the strippers' job a challenge. I was feeling all the things the guru discussed above (resentment, hurt feelings) in conjunction with solidarity with the finish line crew, whose job is fun but not easy.
This runner deserves the place ahead of me because she fairly and squarely got to the line a nanosecond before me. And although the results aren't out, we probably finished in exactly the same time. It still irked me, though, and led to me wanting to explore the "finish line etiquette question" in more depth. Believe it or not, when you google the question there's not a lot out there.
The spouse of a twitter friend, who is a runner, had several observations:
1) It depends on the race and your level of competitiveness,
2) apply the golden rule,
3) gauge people you're running near/with to see they'd welcome push for finish, and
4) many races are timed so the finish spot is not important
What do you think?
I'll "run" into you next week readers, but I'm not sure if I'll run "past" you, especially if we're within five feet of the finish line!