I’ve never actually liked the word ‘start’. There’s something both overly-simplistic and too abrupt about it, which is probably why it’s used to get races going. Start; it sounds absolutely made for barking in a frenzied, yappy-dog kind of way. I am also, not a big person for yappy dogs.
And yet, to me, ‘begin’ sounds pretentious. ‘Begin"’ wears diamonds and enormous, plumed hats while the Titanic slowly drifts toward luxury-hating icebergs.