So I think all runners in the non-elite area may have an occasional thought for the 1 person who comes in last. If you are doing a 5k or something similar, there are typically people walking who will finish after you. I mean, when I very first started running again, I couldn’t necessarily beat all the walkers, and I probably still can’t. There are usually slower walkers that you can pass even if you run 15:30 minute miles though on a 5k. 10ks tend to be less populated with the walking crowd. Sometimes there are walkers and sometimes there aren’t. Marathons are even less likely to have anyone walking at all other than interval runners.
If you look at the race by divisions, you can have a ton of people who finished last for their age/sex. I end up here often. I recently did my first sprint distance triathlon and came in last for my age/sex/weight category. Yes there are weight categories in triathlons. So that was a not great feeling, but coming in bottom 10 overall always makes me feel horrible. I train. I eat healthier. I’ve lost some weight. But there I am #527 out of 541. It really gets to me some days.
I’ve dialed back on the distance now that my marathon/triathlon are complete. I’m working on speed. I really just want to be fast enough on the run to never worry again about being in the bottom 5% of any race. I don’t know why it matters, maybe just my competitive spirit.
On the plus side, I completed a marathon and a triathlon for the first time this year. A year and a half ago, I sat on the couch and weighed 30 pounds more. So I do see the upside, but the downside still sucks.