It’s like the “Tortoise and the Hare,” except real-life and ten times as cringe-worthy.
It’s the men’s open division of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree 10K, and Ben Payne is sure he’s going to win. And, in fact, he may very well have been about to win. But then he got cocky, and cockiness has a way of making you complacent, and slowing you down.
And “slowing down” is generally an ill-advised strategy when it comes to races.
Now the career-defining gaffe has been captured on camera and social media for all of posterity: Payne lags a little, shakes his fist in the air, raises a finger in triumph. You can taste the jubilation. Meanwhile, British Olympian Scott Overall is dutifully charging away, unseen by the premature celebrator.
One commenter on the Deadspin coverage of the event, Weegian, put it brilliantly:
Payne noted after the fact that the slowing-down wasn’t a conscious move on his part, and we empathize. But we think Overall’s thinly-veiled advice to the second-placer still holds:
Payne still took home $1,500 for second place, but he’s still $500 poorer than he would have been/Overall is now. That, and the social media ignominy, have got to sting.