I'm not sure what elites everyone else is talking about, but the ones I know - about a dozen or so - are typically going what I consider "late" (9-10am)
10 11AM ish is the time many top runners and national team types are on the track here doing hard workouts. It's a great time to train too because no none bothers us because most ppl are at work at this time and it's too early for kids and obnoxious footy/soccer brats to get into the infield-same issue with the indoor track too. It's rare to find a race here or in neighboring countries that starts before 10 AM. Oh, and running at the crack of dawn this time of year means running at 10AM. I actually had a 10 AM XC race yesterday and walked to the start to sign up in the dark, warmed up in the dark and by start time it was just beginning to get light. Usually our races are 11 or 12 starts esp in winter but this one is for early birds.Welcome to the subarctic! In the summer 10AM is still the popular time for the top runners to be at the track. USUALLY it's not too hot then but if it is things get moved up earlier. In 2010 we had the hottest summer in recorded history for us and yeah, I remember leaving for long runs at 5:30-6AM so I could be done before it got just awful out. I just came home and slept after the runs. I'm talking 3-4 hour long sessions. Speed work sucked that summer too because for me trying to go before late morning is often counter productive. Going in the evening is worse because during that unuaual heat wave it just wasn't cooling off at night, remember I said subarctic so we get a couple few hours of twilight shork sort of darkness then.
One complaint I hear from top runners who travel to the US for commercial races is that start times are so darn early there and it's hard for us to get used to that. I do agree. Alaska is the only place in the US that generally does not have ridiculously early start times.OTOH, in the heat of the summer, i would rather suck it up and get up at 3AM for a 6Am start than be in the heat of the day. This year, the 100K Worlds had a 10AM start which made it brutal because it was 28C with 100% humidity. a 5 or 6AM start would have spared us the rod somewhat and we could have finished by lunchtime. In 2010 we did have a 6:30 start in the 100K and weather was not really an issue.