In a race, you give it everything you've got until you cross the finish line.Simple right? My wife and I have both been a little baffled lately by the amount of celebration we often see before athletes cross the finish line. From high-five-ing and and flag waving down the finishing stretch at a triathlon, to the Tour de France, where the "winner" sips champagne 100 miles from the finish line. Turkeys. What lazy fast guy(s) invented these ridiculous "rules of racing etiquette" that skoff at people for attacking the leader with everything they've got before said leader has crossed the finish line?
Marathon runners have got it down. They run through that line - every time. I have yet to see a Kenyan or Ethiopian zigzag their way down the last 200 meters high-five-ing spectators. (Maybe I'm not watching close enough.) Even at ITU style races, when the leader celebrates down the finishing chute, he's constantly looking over his shoulder for second place because he knows, the race isn't over. That's why I'm honoring my friend Jordan Jones with this post. Nevermind, the fact that he just finished sixth at the IM 70.3 in Texas this last weekend (AWESOME), it's how he did it. Jordan finished in an all out sprint to the line passing Lance Armstrong in the last 3 feet of the race. WAY TO GO JORDAN!
Now Jordan is a kind and humble, easy-going guy. Despite this, I can only imagine how Lance's poor-sportsmanship post race got on his nerves. I know it'd bother me. Heck - it bothers me seeing it now, and I'm not even Jordan! For those of you that struggle with what real race etiquette looks like, let me break it down for you:
- Before the race - you're a gentleman. Smiles, hand shakes, wishing good luck, all that jazz. Respect your competitors. They deserve it just as much as you do.
- During the race - You do what you gotta do. You push as hard as you can, you follow the rules of the course, and you leave it all out there.
- After the race - you're a gentleman again. Respect, respect, respect. ESPECIALLY for those that just schooled you down the finishing chute while you were busy giving high fives and waving at the crowd.
Oops - maybe I was getting a little two specific at the bottom there, but this is getting on my nerves a bit. What, you've got the energy to shake hands with the crowd, but not the competitor that just beat you? Anyway, all this to say - Jordan - great race buddy. You ran a classy race all the way to the line.