On Sunday, I saw a shirt on a gentleman that bothered me just a little. Let me set up the situation though - 35-40 year old man, tall (probably 6'3" or a little taller), slim, athletic looking. He had numbers on the back of his calves, etc. My assumption is that he did a triathlon over the weekend and was heading back to his home.
Anyway, the back of his shirt said "Don't be last." For some reason, reading this on his shirt bothered me. I guess part of it was because I had just finished a race the day before and finished last. I worked hard to train for the Beaufort Road Race and completed the 10K, but still came in last. It took me a little time, but I had to remember that I did the race and that was way more than I could do a year ago.
So, here's my thinking... Even the best runner/athlete can be last. If you take 4 elite runners and put them together to run a mile/5K/etc., one of them will come in first and one of them will come in last. It's just how it has to be... Despite the fact that we are all winners because we did the race, someone has to be the last to finish.
So, why such a stigma on being last? I am not trying to be all "puppies and rainbows" about running, but why not some encouraging messages on the backs of shirts? This could be motivation to the person wearing it, but also to the people that are behind them on the greenway, race course, etc. It isn't about the time, it is about finishing.
Maybe some of the running companies can use messages like the messages below. These are all courtesy of my awesome running buddy, Sarah. She is one of the most encouraging, enthusiastic people I have ever met!
- You are full of AWESOME!!
- Most people can't do what you are doing!
- While everyone else is asleep in bed, you are running!
- You're kicking ass and takin' names...
- What would your shirt say??