Yeah, the smallest (and currently fastest) kid on Nathan's XC team got stepped on, spiked, and knocked down during the mass start at their invitational on Saturday. He got up and carried on, but lost a shoe in the last mile, since the heel had been folded under since the incident.
Afterward the mother of one of the other kids, who has a lot of XC experience, was saying this is why a lot of teams are coached to run together for the first ~ mile, to protect and look out for each other in heavy traffic. I hadn't heard that one before but it makes sense in bigger meets if there are even a few that run similar speed.
That's a good idea. We were spread out across the starting area, and just staying as a clump for the first few hundred meters would probably have been enough.
Lyn has always been very nervous of big mass start races, Manchester Turkey Day race with 15000 of our best friends. I stay close by to help as a blocker, until she gets free and takes off of course. We have seen people trip and stumble or lose a shoe in that very beginning so time to be cautious.