Races are unpredictable. Even after consistent training, sometimes, a runner’s best long-run strategy is dropping out. (See here) Other times, their best strategy is simply showing up.
Whether I was running the parenting marathon or the homeschooling marathon or the care-giving marathon, there were days when showing up at the start line was the best I could do.
Elite runner Des Linden made history at the 2018 Boston Marathon by showing up—and continuing to show up—mile after mile. Des told another American runner that although she had started, she would probably drop out. It wasn’t her day. Des offered to block the wind—or anything else—to help Shalane Flanagan win.
The icy weather was epic. Given the forecast, race organizers increased their medical assistance along the route. For 26.2 miles, Des showed up until she broke the tape at the finish line—the first American to win the women’s Boston Marathon in 33 years.
I might not have broken a race tape on the days I simply showed up, but I like to think I made a difference.
Which is the best strategy for your current race? Showing up or dropping out?