I think if you're the fastest V50 and you're also faster than the fastest V40, you should be entitled to a prize for being the fastest runner who is over 40. I don't think I'd want the credit for beating everyone between 40 and 49 even though I was slower than a load of 50+ year olds.
That is nonsense: groups are groups. Just because V40 is supposed to be faster than V40, it doesn't mean you get both prizes. Extend your example to men and women to see how silly it has to be. At Cabbage Patch, Martin Rees (V60) beat Steph Twell so should he win the V60 and first lady prize? Surely first lady group has to be faster than M60.
I remember the last Staines 10k for the very reason of being in the appropriate start position. I'm sure I said to Phil, "there's no one here". So started right on the front.
Yep, very odd race. They walk the masses round the council building so wise runners hang to one side and join later. I was at the front of the masses thinking "where is everyone" and nobody duly appeared. po10 has me as first v40
Oddly, looking at po10, I see my lowest age group placing this year is 6 and last year I had a few 8th including Cabbage Patch (this year 6th age group).
See some discussion on chip vs gun times and championship winners etc and it is generally an area where many races get it seriously wrong. The main thing is that race directors try and be fair and that is never fair so what people need to do is to publish a set of clear rules and then follow them.
IMHO, the only way to do this is this:
You have a race and you have a trophy for the winner.You then have a range of prizes that have qualification criteria so top 3 men (you need to be a man), top 3 women (you need to be a woman), top 3 vm40 (you need to be a man aged 40 to 49) etc etc. You win all prizes you qualify for.
If a 45 year old woman crosses the line first she wins 3 prizes (overall, first lady and first vw40).
It is a real mess, so at Staines I was the first v40 male and yet ricF got first v40 prize even though he is v50. Conversely, I got 2nd v40 at Maidenhead in the ARC category as the first v40 was PhilPub who won ARC overall so we all got promoted by one.
For real vets races you have to wear an age category marker front and back, so you can see if the guy ahead of you is in your category or not.
And if you think you may win a category, it is your duty to put yourself in a position to be competitive. If you start in the last pen and complain that you crossed the start lien 10 minutes down then it is your fault. I have never been in a race where I couldn't get into an appropriate start position.