1) Folded starting field
If TV production really needs a 2 min. start interval, I would stick with the WRE-ranking to define start order but would fold the starting field in half.
So instead of:
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
There will be
5 6 7 4 8 3 9 2 10 1
That way the weakest runner work as buffers between the strongest and the runners going for the medals have a reasonable 4 min start interval...
2) Bonus Sprint
Then I would skip all sorts of butterflies but introduce a simple situate separator method called "bonus sprint".
This bonus sprint just separates the pack leader from the pack. The pack riders are sent to a minor running loop (without map) to give the pack leader a reasonable head-start. Meanwhile the pack riders get the estimated time the running loop takes withdrawn from their running time. (So: if they run to slow, they loose time. If fast the win some seconds; method described here)