This is aimed at the people who plan to walk more than 2/3 of a race. Running and walking is perfectly reasonable system (I walk up some of the steeper inclines at all the water stops of most races). And this really isn't aimed at the reasonable walkers who start back in their time appropriate area. This really is for the... hmmmm... special... yeah, that's the PG word I would use.... walkers who decide that the best place to start is waaay up in front.
So, you like to walk. Good. I and most of the other people who run respect you for that. You have chosen to walk a distance longer than most Americans walk in a week and that is awesome. You could be the biggest person around but there will be no mean words or glances at you because you are trying to better yourself. Everyone has to start somewhere and it is awesome you are trying. This event has been something that you have probably planned to attend and *gasp* maybe even trained for quite some time. Really, that is awesome!
I know that some races are better than others in figuring out where to start. A lot of the bigger ones use corrals, where you look at the numbers and start in the area based on your start time. And even for the ones that don't? Do you need to start in front? No. Because if you do? All you have to do is turn around and look at all those people behind you. Those people that will have dodge around you during the first mile or so. I know that it is exciting to be up in front and see the empty road ahead and actually see the people who start the race. Its an exciting thing.
But.... I want you to take a look around you. Look at the runners who are way up in front there. They look pretty fit, don't they? And even those people behind you... They look might fit as well. Heck, as far back as you can see? They probably are all able to run far faster and longer than you can right now.
Remember how I said that I respected you? Felt pretty good, right? Want to know how you destroyed that respect in an instant? Yeah.... You guessed it. You started in the wrong place. I and a whole bunch of other runners now have to dodge your clueless ass during the first mile as things. Are we thinking nice things about you as you mosey along, often 2 or 3 abreast, forcing us to dodge and weave as we start that initial shake out? Nope. All that respect you earned by trying to better yourself is killed by the fact that you are not respecting the rules of our tribe. Because a good runner (and walkers, since there are a bunch of your people way in the back of the pack) looks around, gets in the right corral (if they are there) or just gauges the crowd and picks a fairly reasonable starting place (after a decade of running I can pick really well... I often end with the same crowd that picked at the start) based on his/her ability and the people around them.
This problem really does shake out after the first mile or so, but it really is annoying and leaves me in a less than happy mood. My brothers and I often estimate that we run at least .1-.2 miles extra at the start dodging your ass. And, yes, I probably am in fact growling/muttering at you as I run around you. And most definitely I am picking on you as there are more than a fair share of runners who deliberately choose to start at the wrong place, but.... they have to dodge you as well, which further complicates my brothers and my runs.
So please stop and engage that all too often turned off feature (at least in modern day society), show some courtesy to the people around you. Start in the right place and you will make a lot of runners out there a lot happier.