It’s more a verb than a virtue.
We don’t sign up for a race to outrun the 5,000 (and definitely more) runners ahead of us. Neither would we train for 20 weeks (or more) to compete with another runner going faster than our race pace and then, we end up crashing before the 35km mark.
Every race we sign up for, we sign up to compete with ourselves.
So it’s not about coming in first and waving your bragging rights in front of others. It’s about having an outstanding race experience by helping others get the same kind of experience. Just think about what you’d like others to do for you.
#1 Encourage the person beside you
Somewhere between the halfway mark and the finishing line, you’d have found a constant pace. Your legs would have fallen into a predictable pattern and your breath a constant rhythm. If you’re lucky, you’d have found fellow runners running at your flanks. It’s the same familiar face from the 3km mark, and at the 8km one. Shoot them a smile, it’d definitely spur them on.
#2 Thank the volunteers
They probably reached a good 4-5 hours ahead before the first flag-off time to move the bottles of water and set up tables at the hydration stations. You might be tired from pounding your feet a thousand times on the ground, but they’d be exhausted and feeling sticky and clammy from their own share of work. To those volunteers still picking up the energy to cheer you on, thank them. They deserve it.
#3 Walk if you must, run once you can
Nothing is more inspiring than a runner who is committed. The stories you hear about ultramarathoner who is also supermom or about the Singapore Blade Runner, are inspiring because they stay tougher when the going gets tough. So part of inspiring others (and yourself) is to allow yourself to walk if you really must but also to be the strong voice that pushes yourself to run once you can.
Try it this SCMS!