Somewhere along the line, I picked up the term “start line champions” for these people. These are the people who believe they will look like hot stuff because they were leading the race for a few seconds, even though they ended up finishing in the middle of the pack. Some actually believe they will look like hot stuff to start line spectators and in start line photos because they were leading. Really, all they look like are idiots because it’s easy for even a novice to pick them out.
When I run a race where I expect to finish in the top 10, I will almost inevitably be around 50th at the quarter mile. At that point, I can pick out around 90% of the 40 people, give or take, who I will be passing before the finish. At the half mile, even as I’m settling into pace, I have already passed at least half of them. By the mile mark, I’m at worst up to 15th to 20th place and ready to race the people who are actually capable of thinking of a top 10 spot. The worst part of this whole situation is that it stretches out the amount of time you have to deal with traffic and delays the point at which you can actually find your real competition and focus on racing.