In races, I was never really worried about being last. It seems to worry a lot of others though. “But what if you’re last, Malena,” they asked. “So?” I usually replied.
It’s such a concern to some I started thinking maybe there’s an execution of the last participant no one told me about. In Team in Training, I only remember it mentioned once. The mentors said the last person usually gets the most encouragement, applause and fanfare.
Well, my belief that being last didn’t really matter was tested in January. I was the last runner to cross the finish line in the South Texas Sizzler. The only reason the cheerleaders were still there to greet me was because my family asked them to stay. The tent where staff was handing out official times was packed up by the time I got to it.
I was last. And I had a motorcade of police vehicles behind me announcing my arrival. Honestly, I did a “thank you now go away” wave to them as I entered the park where the finish line was. But they followed me all the way to the finish line.
As expected, I did not die.
I wasn’t hiding my face from people. If my face was red, it was because of the 10K I finished, not embarrassment. I felt what I usually feel after a race - hungry.
So don’t worry about being last. I admit it's not exactly my goal, but it's not the important thing. Enjoy what you accomplished.
Side note, later my sister sent me the following link and said it was my commercial:
Former high school water girl (really) finally running.