Defeated contestant sprinted as well (4-3)
I believe the answer is:
'defeated contestant' is the definition.
'also-ran' can be an answer for 'contestant' (also-ran is a kind of contestant). I am unsure of the 'defeated' bit.
'sprinted as well' is the wordplay.
I cannot quite see how this works, but
'sprinted' could be 'ran' (I've seen this in another clue) and 'ran' is found within the answer.
'as' could be 'so' (I've seen this in other clues) and 'so' is found within the answer.
This may be the basis of clue (or it may be nonsense).
Can you help me to learn more?
(Other definitions for also-ran that I've seen before include "Unplaced horse" , "Unplaced competitor" , "Not placed among the leaders" , "This horse doesn't win" , "A contestant who loses" .)