QUESTION: Is there an unspoken rule that says you cannot pass another runner just before the finish line, even if you are in different age groups or different-length races, such as a half marathon and marathon finishing together? I overheard two runners this weekend arguing about that at a race. I stayed out of the argument, because I had no idea.
HAL’S ANSWER: Simply stated, it's a "race," isn't it? And it’s your race, not a race against some stranger encountered for the first time on the final straightaway. As far as I am concerned, you are permitted to shave every silly, little second off your finishing time. If someone got passed in the last 20 meters, that person should have trained harder instead of hanging around outside the chute afterwards and grousing that someone outsprinted him at the line. Also, I particularly don't care for "unspoken rules." It's up to each individual runner to determine how hard and fast he or she wants to run once in sight of the digital clock overhanging the finish line.
Hal uses TrainingPeaks to power his interactive marathon and half marathon training plans. Check out more of Hal Higdon's training plans here or on his website.