What Does Marathon DNF Mean?

Did Not Finish (DNF) Marathon

Marathon DNF Did Not FinishMany runners at some part of their running career had to say when returning form the marathon I did not finish. Marathon DNF (did not finish) is a difficult phase which for some may end their desire to complete a marathon, while for others marathon DNF is a beginning of a new training program.

Runners Approach to DNF a Marathon

There is a great difference between runners who attempted their first marathon and did not finish. Those would feel a pinch of despair, and a twisting failure mood for long weeks later. More experienced runners might also DNF a marathon, but they will look forward, they might change a running coach, change their marathon training program, or try to prepare themselves better to the next marathon.

Reason For DNF a Marathon

There are different reasons why runners did not finish a marathon run. The reason might also have some influence on the post marathon blues a runner might have.

When the reason is an accidental fall, twisting an ankle, a harsh bump with another runners, both falling over, getting hit by traffic during a race.. a runner would return home and feel he had bad luck. Though he DNF a marathon, he would know it was a ‘higher force’ and there are more chances the runner would challenge another race sometime later.

There are other reasons for marathon DNF like getting dehydrated, heatstroke. Those reasons are connected to they way a runners manage the race, skipping a drinking station, or running without a hat. Runners who drop off a race cause of heat still get the feeling they where ‘defeated’ (because others at the same conditions have kept on running!). They would slightly ashamed they did not stick through till the finish line.

Getting a leg cramp in a middle of a race hurts like hell! But when DNF cause of leg cramps a runner would still feel bad, because a marathon is all about overcoming body ‘pains’ and he did not manage to overcome his. Leg cramps are also connected to stretching and warm ups before the race, runners would never know why they got the leg cramps and was it their ‘fault’.

Watch Runner Overcoming Leg Cramps at Boston Marathon

Hitting The Wall – Marathon DNF

The worst reason a runner might have for not completing a race, is ‘hitting the wall’. Hitting the wall is a moment within the marathon where all the body reserves run out, and the body physically remained emptied from energy to keep on running.

Hitting the wall, is a physical barrier and a psychological barrier too. It can be moment of break down or a moment which a runner will remember forever as the moment he became a marathoner! Most runners who are confused why they did not finish the race, are runners who have hit the wall, and gave up.

These runners are those who will suffer a post marathon ‘trauma’. They will feel they have done their best, but their best was not enough. They will feel that they have trained hard, but did not have ‘what it takes’ to finish the run. Most of the runners who have hit the wall in their first marathon, will not try to run another marathon, they will lose confidence with their ability to finish the 26.2 mile race!

 Hitting The Wall 100 Yards From Marathon Finish Line (IronMan)

Marathon DNF Can Happen To Anyone

This is an example for the amazing will power of the human athletes. Those who manage to creep out of the rumbles of their body and complete their mission, are the heroes. Those who are only human and give in to the pains, have a DNF mark on their marathon history chart.

Essential Guide To Training For Your First Marathon

If you did not finish a marathon, dropped out for any reason, you must know some of the world leading runners have dropped out of races. It can happen to anyone! Anytime! Anywhere.

Runners need to know that when a run did not finish as planned, they are just beginning their preparation for the next marathon. Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya (Boston Marathon 2011 Winner) has dropped out from the 2012 marathon due to fatigue. Paula Radcliffe (women’s world record holder: 2:15:25) three time winner of London Marathon, two times winner of ING New York Marathon. Paula hit the wall in the 2004 Olympics marathon.

Radcliffe said “You go through bad stages in a marathon, but never as bad as that”, “I’ve never before not been able to finish and I’m desperately trying to find a reason for what happened”, “I just feel numb – this is something I worked so hard for.” read more

Did Not Finish DNF First MarathonPreparing for a marathon (especially the first marathon) is not about running it is about the mental preparation and knowing what to expect.

The book “Essential Guide To Training For Your First Marathon” is exactly about this, “What makes this book truly different, is that it covers topics that every other book on the market neglects: the emotional, spiritual and mental aspects of the marathon.”

Those runners who run through their wall, had prepared themselves to total commitment, to cross the finish line! Being mentally prepared is important even more than the running sessions, if you are tough in your mind, you will be tough in your legs. 

Good luck in your next marathon - YOU CAN DO IT!

Please help other runners who DNF get inspired for their next marathon, invest a moment to share this..

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