The Infamous DNS

Yes. I’ve done it. More than once. There are many reasons that people don’t start a race. Usually it’s due to injury or an admitted lack of training.

There is a popular saying for runners:

Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish which trumps Did Not Start

Those are all true. In the case of that saying though. I’m pretty sure the DNS is referring to the people who are still sitting on the couch, not the people are unable to start the race for some of the other reasons I mentioned.

The “DLF>DNF>DNS” is great for motivating people to get off the couch and get moving. If you don’t get started then you’ll never be able to finish. Everyone who’s ever done a race (or pretty much anything else that takes time and commitment) will admit to you that it takes a lot of courage to start anything that is worth doing.

There was a point in time that I would look at runners and think they were crazy, but then I started making friends through the Disney online community and I started reading message board and listening to podcasts and hearing about these marathons and half marathons. Suddenly, I began thinking I could do this. It took me a few more minute, but I finally got the courage to start.

Unfortunately, you can look at this a different way. There are people who don’t start a race. As I said, there are many reasons why these people don’t start a race. In my case, my reasons weren’t necessarily good reasons, but they did and still do make sense to me.

I missed my first race, the SheRox Tri, because I moved to Orlando at the end of July, turned around two days later to fly to Connecticut for a cousin’s wedding, and I then would have had to turn right back around one more time to head back to Philadelphia to participate in the race. If I had followed my training play to a T then maybe I would have made my schedule work so that I could have made it to that race, but the craziness of moving and the traveling that was required for those few weeks made it easy for me to decide not to do that race.

My second race was supposed to help me complete my first Coast to Coast Challenge. I was supposed to run the 2011 Disneyland Half Marathon. I had really looked forward to doing this race. I was using my Southwest Rapid Rewards credits to purchase my flights and I was planning on sharing a room with some friends. Of course, my relocation seven states away and the fact that I wasn’t currently employed full time, made me very sad that I had to back out of the race. I wasn’t happy about it since I really wanted to go out to run the race, but I knew it was the mature and financially responsible thing to do.

The last race that I decide no to start was the inaugural Savannah Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon.  This was a last minute decision. I was suffering from achilles tendonitis but I knew that I would participate in the race. Unfortunately, the schedulers at work had a different plan. I ended up being scheduled to work the weekend of the race. I’m sure I would have caused more injury to myself if I had gone out there to take part in the race though, so I’m thankful that I missed out on this one too.

I’ve also had a Dead Last Finish, but I’ll share that story some other time!

Have you ever had a DNS? What was your reason for it? Do you regret making that decision?

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3 Responses to The Infamous DNS

  1. Amanda says:

    2012 Wine and Dine – I had been very sick all year and I did the 5K that morning and thought I'd have to stop. It was a tough decision, but I decided to sit out the half. Turns out it was a good choice as I could have done some permanent damage had I tried to do the race.

    2013 WDW Full Marathon – I was still dealing with illness, but I did the 5K and Half and during the Half I hurt my hip. I could barely walk at the end. I was going to try the full, but in the morning I still could barely walk so I decided to spectate instead. Again, I think it was the right choice and it allowed me to do Tinker Bell the next weekend.


  2. Tim says:

    I DNSed a race once simply due to a scheduling conflict that came up with my kids. More recently, I did a DNS of a fairly expensive event… the Dopey. In that case, I simply wasn't nearly prepared for the event, and it would have been an absolute poor choice to participate. (So when I complain of unprepared people doing Disney races, yes, I absolutely will put my money where my mouth is on that.)

    While I agree in theory that DLF>DNF>DNS, it's worth stressing that should only apply in the situation where one has made an honest best-effort to prepare for the event. As I've been saying a lot lately, beginners are fine, slow in fine, but unprepared isn't fine.

    @Amanda, sounds like you made the right decisions, I applaud you for having the presence of mind to do so.


  3. Pingback: Dead Last Finish | Who me, run?

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