QT: Finishing Place is Largely Irrelevant, Even if You Finish Last

Become a Patron!

One thing that many runners struggle with, at least on occasion, is playing the comparison game.

The comparison game can be played on a variety of different fronts.

Pace. Mileage. Finishing place.

Whatever the metric, playing the comparison game isn’t a good thing.

It doesn’t matter if we are talking about social media, a local 5k, or a high school cross country meet, the only person you should be comparing yourself to is yourself.

Sadly, that’s easier said than done.

On pretty much every front.

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

I’ve talked about the comparison game a few times.

Typically, I’ve come at the comparison game from a social media perspective.

No arguments there.

That said, I think the in-person comparison game may be a bit more difficult to deal with than social media.


Because as pervasive as social media is, you can turn a blind eye to those that you’re comparing yourself to negatively.

If you don’t scroll too much on Strava or FB or IG, then you might not see that someone ran faster than you or farther than you.

Sometimes ignorance being bliss isn’t a bad thing.

In-person, it’s a little more difficult to ignore reality.

Especially if the reality is that you’re near the back of the pack, or maybe even in contention for finishing DFL, on race day.

You Can’t Control Who Shows Up

If I may be so bold, please allow me to bring a bit of logic to this conversation.

Your finishing place on race day, whether you’re first or last, is largely outside of your control.


Because it all depends on who shows up.

You can run your best race ever, finishing with a massive PR, but if a bunch of fast people show up you might still end up DFL!

That Sucks

For sure.

On the flip side, you can have a pretty poor race day performance.

But if the only people that show up are markedly slower than you are, you can still finish first.

Not for nothing, but that’s the only reason your boy has ever finished first overall at a race.

Carol Marsh Kids to Camp 5k 2015

Look, I’m not going to pretend like finishing last, or darn close, isn’t a bit of a hit to the ego.

Admittedly, I don’t know what that feels like.

I’m sure it can be deflating. Maybe even more than a bit deflating.

But finishing last on race day isn’t a reflection on you as a runner at all.

Keep Showing Up

If you’ve ever struggled with your finishing place on race day in relation to the rest of the field, please keep showing up.

Keep putting in your miles in training. Keep signing up for races. And keep toeing the line on race day.

Focus on the aspects of our sport that you enjoy.

How you feel after a good run. The time you’re able to spend with your friends. The sense of pride as your fitness improves and you find yourself doing more than you’ve ever done before.

And if at all possible, stop playing the comparison game.

Because that’s a game that no one can win…

Where you finish, whether first or last, shouldn't impact how you see yourself as a runner. #runchat Share on X

How Much Do You Think About Your Finishing Place on Race Day?

Want to Support the Continued Growth & Production of the Show?

Check out the support page for ideas and suggestions of ways you can help me grow the show. And remember, not all support involves money. Some of the best ways you can show your support are 100% free.

Subscribe to the Show

Never miss another episode of the Diz Runs With podcast by subscribing to the show, and for my fellow Apple fans out there, it’s never been easier now that the podcast app is native on the new operating system. iPhone/iPod/iPad users click here. Android users click here. SoundCloud users click here.

Please Give Me Some Feedback!

Take the 6 question listener survey to help me shape the future of this podcast.

Register for a Free Race Training Plan

Every month, I’m giving away a FREE training plan for the race of your choice. For details/information, and to sign up, just click here.

Join The Tribe!

There’s always room for more members of the tribe! Both the Facebook group and the email group provide opportunities that can’t be found anywhere else. The Facebook group is still small, but it is a great way to connect with fellow runners and foster community amongst like-minded individuals. The email group is THE way to stay up to date about future guests on the show, as well as getting some other freebies and offers that aren’t available to anyone else. If you’ve got questions about either/both, just let me know!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *