What does it mean to give your all? People often talk about doing their best, but have no idea what that is. To do your best, you must pour every last bit of energy into the accomplishment of a goal. Blood, sweat and tears may actually be required.
If anything is held back, by definition you have not given your all. While it is not always necessary to utterly exhaust oneself in the completion of a task, it makes a big difference when examining the quality of the outcome. Those who do their best will naturally outpace those who put forth an effort.
Good is not good enough. There are plenty of people who are good. To succeed you must be better, and one should always strive to be the best. Those who do not fully intend to win a race should never start one.
It is easy to give up, when the road is long and the dust is in your teeth. Even those with a great deal of stamina will begin to flag as they are gasping for air and sweating profusely. The superhuman few will press on, determined to just finish. But only one or two will dedicate themselves entirely to attaining the goal, and only one can win.
So, what separates first and second place? The winner will tap into reserves they did not even know they had. They cannot falter, they cannot fail and they shall succeed.
Approaching the finish line, anything can happen. Life is not fair and never will be. To do your best means just that: to give every last bit of energy, to use every resource at your disposal, all of your faculties, heart and soul, mind and strength. It will exhaust one's very spirit, but you will know deep in your soul that you held nothing back, not content to just finish but actually, literally determined to win.