The NSAC 5K had a ratio of about 1:1.5 given it was about a ten minute drive to the start, a ratio only bettered by the Cobequid 10K which at a ten minute walk from my apartment was at ca. 1:4. In other words 5Ks may suck when you train for marathons and stuff but with a road-to-race ratio better than unity for a race that lasts minutes (and a trip shorter than the race itself) I was fresh out of excuses.
This blog is ostensibly about clothing etiquette, but finish-line etiquette seems to be equally as obscure to some and exposition is clearly required. When it gets to the point that even Mark Stein (who has stood at more finish lines than I've had hot dinners) goes "duuuude, WTF", the time has come to act. Or write a long, polite note (does it get any more British than that? I'm sorry).
Call me old-fashioned (and if you do it will be the nicest thing I'll have been called all week) but endurance sports are all about pace, are they not? What separates a Rami Bardessey from the rest of us, apart from no fast-twitch muscles whatsoever, zero body-fat and a camel-like ability to survive without food or water (and yet it's me who has the hump!) is the ability to measure his effort so that he hits the line with nothing left, having used every last molecule of ATP getting from A to B as fast as he can. If you have something left to sprint to the line with, then you didn't leave it all on the course. What's the point in trying to save two or three seconds in the final 100 m when with a more careful application of your reserves, you could have saved two or three seconds per kilometer. It doesn't take a Stephen Hawking to prove that three seconds saved per kilometre, in even a 5K, is "better" for your time than saving three seconds in the final sprint.
really going to bolster your reputation as a hard-man come race day. Classy!
However, the crime even more heinous than outsprinting a lady is outsprinting the lady who has paced you all the way. What better way to thank her for all the hard work she has done by nipping in front of her at the line? She's done the graft, she gets the applause. Simple. There are, again, a couple of exceptions. One is she's a pace-bunny. Once you put on the silly ears and the "Follow Me 10-and-1" T-shirt you have abdicated all rights and responsibilities to a place, a time and sometimes even a prize (not to mention your dignity!). As pace-bunnies we pretty much pace, promise, plead, support, cajole and threaten you to within sight of the line and then let you go for your moment of glory. In fact, if we do our jobs right, we won't even be on your finish-line photo. So if she's wearing ears, you can go for it.
let's work together for the next x miles", try asking "wanna go for it?". Either way, so long as you both know that after a certain point, the race is on, then it's fair. You might want to wait for the sprint, she might want to go for the long flier but with 100m to go there's no point asking a "long flier"if she wants to make a race of it; she wanted to know twenty minutes ago! Once the race is on, all's fair in love and war apart from an egregiously-thrown elbow and so long as you both fully understand this, it's OK.
Oh, and apart from looking good when you cross the line; jersey zipped up and straight, shades on and a big smile there's one more, slight point of finishing-chute etiquette those of us in reflective vests would like to ask of you; please don't vomit on the head of the chip-retrieval person!