Even Last Place Can Be On The Podium

I love participating in local road races and triathlons but no matter how much I prepare for one, part of me that fears that I’ll finish in last place.

The night before my first triathlon, this fear kept me up half the night. Would the volunteers be irritated having to wait to break down the event before I crossed the line? Would my kids pretend to belong to another? What would my training partners and coaches think?

As I tossed in bed that night I came up with a plan – if in last, I’d sneak off the course and make my way to my in-laws house and call Mark from there to pick me up. It’d be less embarrassing to follow through with this plan than to cross in last. I figured no on would notice my absence at least until it was lunchtime.

My thoughts on last place changed this month as we were in Atlanta visiting my family. We had signed up for a local 5 K Fun Run with my sister and niece. The race went well for all of us and Mark ended up being the overall winner (show off!).

He refused to leave without his trophy so we hung around for the awards ceremony. Over an hour had past since the start of the race and they were in the middle of giving out the age group awards when the announcer was interrupted. He shared, “Ladies and Gentlemen, we just had another runner cross the finish line and we’d like to acknowledge her because she has placed in her age group!”

Betsy was 72-years-old, last in the race but she had placed 3rd!

Wow! If Betsy had quit she never would have placed.

My fears of coming in last then felt foolish and cowardly. Betsy was courageous and persistent and she was rewarded because of it.

God’s timing at times may take us out of our comfort zones but if we obey and persist there is a spot waiting for us on the podium.

Don’t quit my friends when life gets tough. Your reward is awaiting you if you just keep pushing on!

Have you ever come in last?

What reward or lesson did you receive from it?


  1. Thanks for this inspiring story!

  2. Having just finished my first local triathlon this weekend, I can tell you it is an interesting dichotomy between swallowing your pride, competitive nature and the desire to finish… I wasn’t last out of the water, but I knew that even if I was I would keep on going. It was amazing that the awards ceremony was interrupted when the last few olympic distance athletes came across, to loud applause from the crowd. Finishing, with integrity, is worth way more to me than competing without honor or the pain of coming across last.

Speak Your Mind