Finishing last in a race may not seem like a victory, but it’s worth celebrating. The act of participating and completing a race is a huge accomplishment, and should be recognized regardless of the time it takes to cross the finish line.

I ran the Four Courts Four Miler and finished dead last, also known as DFL. I was 960th out of 970 runners, 433rd of 433 men, and 99th of 99 runners between 40-49. But, I did it. I didn’t stay in bed, watch TV or sit around all day. I got up, went to the race and ran at a 14-00 to 16-00 pace for an hour.

Sure, there were thousands of people in the DMV (DC, Maryland, and Virginia) area who weren’t running, but I was out there pushing myself. I was pushing my body to its limits and testing my endurance. It’s not just about crossing the finish line first, but about pushing yourself to do something you never thought possible.

And, as I ran the course and saw the bulk of the runners heading back towards me before I even reached the finish line, it was both fun and interesting. It was a great opportunity for people watching, and I received encouragement from all the checkpoint volunteers, police officers and race officials. Even though I was close to last place, the positivity and support from everyone was uplifting.

By the time I crossed the finish line, even though many runners had already finished, there was still enough energy and excitement to get me to gallop across. I felt proud of myself for pushing through and completing the race. I’m grateful for the experience and for the support of Pacers Running, the Four Courts, and all the volunteers and fellow racers.

It’s not just about winning, but about the journey and the experience. The training, the preparation, the mental and physical challenges, and the sense of accomplishment when crossing the finish line. That’s what truly matters. And, I plan to continue participating in races and pushing myself to improve. I hope others will join me in recognizing the accomplishment of finishing a race, no matter where you place.

In addition, running is not just a physical activity but it also has a lot of mental benefits, such as reducing stress, improving focus and concentration, and increasing the release of endorphins which make you feel happy and energized. It’s also an opportunity to disconnect from your daily routine and spend some time alone with your thoughts, which can be very therapeutic.

Furthermore, running with a group or with a partner is also a great way to socialize and make new friends. Many running groups are organized by age, gender, or running level, and they provide a supportive and encouraging environment.

In conclusion, regardless of your running level, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned runner, the most important thing is to participate and push yourself to do your best. Every step counts, and even if you’re the last to cross the finish line, you’re still a winner in your own right. So, lace up those shoes and hit the pavement, you never know where it might take you.