Saturday, January 11, 2014

Follow-up on my DNF post.

My last post "Is a DNF a thing of the past" received a crazy amount of traffic. It quickly shot up to my second most viewed post with 4,000+ views. Clearly this was a practice that many were unaware of. I just wanted to do a  follow-up. One thing that I want to make clear is that although Rock 'n' Roll races do this they are not alone. I've seen it done at other races as well. 

I respect anybody doing a race that completes the set mileage. Most races have a time limit and if you do not complete the race in the amount of time stated, you will be marked as a DNF and will not receive a medal. I've seen it done at IronMan races where they have a strict time limit for each respective disciplines. Here's a video I took of the swim portion of the IronMan Texas marathon. The first guy made the time limit with seconds to spare but the second guy was told his race was over.

I can assure you that that second swimmer went home and worked on his swimming so that the next time he signed up for an IronMan he would be certain to make the swim time limit. That's is why a DNF is not such a bad thing. You learn and then work to better yourself because of it. 

Other times a DNF means knowing that the the race organizers will have to start putting up the finish line and you will have to run the rest of your race self supported. For instance Maickel Melamed is the man with muscular dystrophy who completed the Chicago marathon in 16 hours and 46 minutes. He completed the marathon in his own time but was considered a DNF in the official stats for the Chicago Marathon. He earns my respect  for completing the marathon he set out to do. 

I will and am the number one supporter to anyone willing to get out there and run or walk. But this option to appease a participant to take a shortcut instead of running the miles to actually earn the medal has got to stop.  At the end of the day what another runner does is up to them. But if I'm running a marathon and the option to take a DNF or ride a "move forward" shuttle arises. Give me a DNF and I'll tell that shuttle to move along.

Please leave your thoughts and comments below. 


  1. I did a Disney race where a runner was "encouraged" by their TNT coach to take a short cut, so sometimes it's not even the Race itself. I think we also have to remember there are a multitude of reasons for a DNF. And sometimes it is a hard "personal" decision to continue at a pace that is well below expected performance or save yourself for another day (usually due to a tweak or minor injury). I suspect that many of the "runner" who opt for "Moving Ahead" are not having a bad day, but failed to prepare and/or train properly which, to me, sets a bad precedent.

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