It has been awhile since you responded, but I think that I agree with you. When I typed my response, I was thinking primarily of qualifying rounds. Really, asking that athletes stay on the track and within their lanes (if applicable) is a minimal requirement. Most sports have some sort of “field of play” that athletes need to stay within. The penalty in track and field may be harsh, but it is not unreasonable.
Still, a race where the end results are decided by anything other than the sequence in which people cross the finish line will always feel unsatisfactory unless the DQ’d runner clearly impeded another runner or gained an clear competitive advantage.
Do they use age grading to allocate masters awards in your area? I find age grading to be similarly dissatisfying when it alters the results from the finishing sequence. Fortunately at the race I ran this weekend the guy who won the masters award also was the first over-40 runner across the line, but that’s not always the case.