We’ve often talked to you about how we understand running: it’s fun, the competition is only with yourself, it’s still a sport where it’s crazy (even statistically) to think you can win anything, etc.
I make all these points also to emphasize something that I think is equally fundamental: it is right that those who win a race should be celebrated, and it is right that they should emerge among all, not diluting and dispersing their effort in a sea of participation awards and “after all, the important thing is to be there.” Participating is one thing (beautiful) and winning is another, and they should be celebrated in different ways.
Nonetheless, I find that there is a great lack in all races, and that is the prize to the last one or the last finisher..
I mean: our hypercompetitive culture rightly leads to exalting those who achieve extraordinary results and, at the opposite end of the spectrum, to consider little, ignore or even-very wrongly- deride those who finish last.
And if there are first prizes and participation awards for everyone, it is really not clear why there is no tribute for those who arrives last.
Let’s say it very clearly and seriously: whoever finishes last is the winner or winner in endurance. This is not a joke, think about it: running races are at least as much speed competitions as they are endurance competitions. Those who win them have endured the least amount of maximum effort for the longest time (and that is still an extraordinary achievement, mind you), while those who finish last have endured the most effort that they can express the longest.
Now you may think that I am also saying this out of self-interest or because I have never been nor will I ever be one of the fastest (or even one of the averagely fast), but this is a challenge worth fighting for, because every race should provide a prize for the last ones, because they deserve it, and how much they deserve it.
Showing one’s determination on the road is commendable, and showing it longer than everyone else is equally so.
It is a prize for those who grit their teeth longer than others; it is a prize that the last ones-even if not only biblically-deserve. To be unquestionably recognized as the first.