running room

the space between a racer and the nearby competitors in a running race, especially enough to run and maneuver as desired.
the space or leeway permitting ample freedom and flexibility to operate, maneuver, or perform without impairment.

probably earlier than 1980–85 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Example sentences
If the market isn't really at a record high, it may still have a lot of running room.
The question seems premature, of course, but a losing party can provide a lot of running room for up-and-comers.
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