There are many examples in sports where a competitor prematurely celebrates or “lets up” at the last second turning what appears to be great success to embarrassing failure. In the NFL season opener on September 5th between the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens, Danny Trevathan purposefully dropped a Joe Flacco intercepted pass at what turned out to be inches before he crossed the goal line to celebrate. What appeared to be a Denver touchdown quickly turned into a Baltimore first down. In the August Ironman 70.3 Brazil race, Jérémy Jurkiewicz of France stopped short of the finish to celebrate his victory and literally had to push back Brazil’s Igor Amorelli only inches from the tape to grab the win. This calls for a look at 5 Great Reasons for NOT slowing down at the finish line!
Finish the Drill
Several sports teams including the University of Georgia football team have adopted “Finish the Drill” as their slogan. There is great satisfaction both mentally and physically when we complete a race knowing that we left absolutely nothing on the trail. I feel great knowing I gave it my best shot and I feel lousy knowing I held back ….regardless of my excuse.
Cameras Keep Rolling as Time Keeps Ticking
There is always at least one camera rolling and the footage is hard to refute especially when there are multiple angles. Those computer chips don’t lie so slowing up at the finish is hard to refute even when the argument is between you and yourself. After the race, look in the mirror and feel confident telling yourself that you ran through the finish and not to the finish.
It Makes No Sense to Come Up Short
Whether the race is 100 meters or a marathon, giving it your best shot for 99% of the race only to let up at the finish makes no sense. We have all seen it happen to others but we don’t think it can happen to us. It can. It takes both mental and physical toughness to avoid coming up short. Winners never quit and quitters never win.
You May Get a Big Surprise
I was fortunate enough to be the anchor on my college mile relay team my sophomore year in a dual meet with our arch rival. We were 1 point ahead going into the final event meaning the winner of the mile relay event would win the dual meet. Unfortunately their mile relay team was far superior as evidenced by their sweep of the open 400. Surprisingly their leadoff man lost control of his baton coming out of the blocks! Baton retrieval was costly however the gap had disappeared by the time the anchor legs made their exchanges. We went stride for stride through the backstretch. Their anchor patiently waited to make his move. I just knew I had him beat until I hit the tape and caught a glimpse of him hitting the tape at the same time. I had no idea he was that close! First place judge picked me. Second place judge picked me too. The points were split and we miraculously won the meet. I swear I did not “let up” but if I had “let up” no way I would have admitted it.
Your Pain Will be Even Greater After the Race If You Let Up
That inner voice may tell us that we have run a long and hard race and no one will ever know if we let up just before the finish or celebrate those last few steps. That is no one will know but us. Truth is the “pain” saved by the “let up” in no way compares to the pain of coming up short especially when a competitor passes us up at the finish line. Don’t take the risk. Run through the finish in every race both on and off the trail.