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What do we call the athlete who is in first place , leading the marathon or running in front of the other runners in a race?

Is leader an appropriate word to describe this runner?

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You could call the athlete the front-runner.

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Source? Always try to substantiate an answer with a reliable source of information. – Kris Apr 29 '14 at 7:00
frontrunner 1. One that is in a leading position in a race or other competition: thefreedictionary.com/frontrunner – Kris Apr 29 '14 at 7:02
The word front-runner carriers a bunch of connotations. I don't think I would ever use it to describe the person leading a race. That is just me though. I would say someone is a front-runner in that they perform better when doing well or in the lead and the opposite if they are not in the lead. – RyeɃreḁd Apr 29 '14 at 10:33

'Leader' is a perfectly acceptable word to use in UK English for the front-runner of a race.

Richard D.

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I don't agree with the use of front-runner here at all - at least for AE purposes. It doesn't sound right and wouldn't be used by an announcer of a race.

In marathons or races we hear the following words:

  • The lead
  • the pole (especially in moto races)
  • the pace(r) position
  • first
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