Monday, August 13, 2012

*CHAR SHARES* Why is DNF Considered Quitting?

It's no secret the London Games was not kind to our American Marathoners (both female and male).

A runner falls down - so they get a DNF, right?  Did they quit?  They were injured so they had to withdraw, but it still says DNF, right?

So, another racer is injured but doesn't fall down in agony and has to take a DNF?  And now, they are a quitter?

Interesting...double standard.  

Everyone knows I am a BIG FAN of Desi and I was heartbroken to hear she DNF'd.  However, a sympathetic crowd said, "it's okay, Desi!" 

As I predicted if our American Male Team didn't reach the podium - there would be a backlash. Happened in a big way.  Hypocritical if you ask me.

1.  Who are WE to judge why Ryan, Abdi or Desi DNF'd?
2.  Ryan is self-coached but he has a team of ADVISORS watching over him.  Just because he doesn't have a person giving him his training workouts, doesn't mean he is without any guidance.  Need I remind you that Mutai is self-coached?  Seems to work for him, doesn't it? 
3.  YES, the Olympics is the world stage, BUT - is it worth risking further injury and ending a career, just to say they finished?
4.  I go back to #1, who are WE to judge them?  It's not our place to be judging their lives. That is between them and their sponsors.
5.  We scream about how the Ethoipians and Kenyan's work as a team and have their country behind them, no matter what.  Good one, USA - let's show the rest of the world how much we support our athletes and only want them around when they break a record or get on a podium.
6.  Need I remind anyone that both Desi and Ryan hold the American record for the Boston Marathon?
7.  Both have been plagued with injuries - you really think they are under trained?
8.  This is their careers, I can't imagine the decision they had to make to stop.
9.  Call them quitters for all you want, but you were not THERE, you were not in THEIR body nor their MIND.  Point fingers and you will be put in the same situation to see how hard it is.  Each one of them knew of the risk to DNF and had to make that painful decision.  You cannot compare them to other racers who have finished.   EveryONE is different. 

I had two races I SHOULD of DNF'd -

- Laughlin Half (and caused further injury to myself for keeping going.  But, hey - I am not a quitter, am I?  I am not proud of this race at all)

-Vegas Half- we all know that story.  I don't need to repeat it, nor am I proud of it either.  (By keeping going, I ended up in the hospital and weeks of rehab to realign my back after the violent vomiting I experienced.  But, hey I didn't quit, right?)

I am proud of all our Olympic athletes. The ones that won, the ones that lost.  The ones that cried and the ones that fell down.  They all earned the right to be there and therefore, earned my respect.

I prefer to support my athletes than mock and ridicule them.  To the average person, it's a fun sport - to them, it's their identity and their livelihood.  Mockers have insulted them at the very core of who they are.  I find that shameful and embarrassment to our country.  Once again, we love to put our athletes on a pedestal and then tear them down.  I think just BEING at the Olympics is worthy of our applause and support. 

20 racers DNF'd in the Men's race. Even the Olympic reporters didn't look down on anyone, as the conditions were bad and the Marathon is the most unpredictable sport there is.  You never know how your body will be that day.

I know for me - after my "finish" at Laughlin Half and I was torn apart at the hip...the physical recovery was minor compared to the healing I faced in my brain and heart.  Why not support the athletes instead of pointing your fingers?  If you TRULY want the best for and encourage them, not knock them when they are down.  

After that hip injury (Laughlin Half) and people mocked me for not pushing myself to win my Age Division vs hobbling my way to finish - they soon, dealt with their own hip injuries.  
Those who mocked me for Vegas Half issues...they also soon found themselves at a race where they were vomiting. 

Karma is a B*TCH...

That's just my opinion...

(c) C. Ragsdale 2011-12
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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  1. I'm with you here. The reason for a DNF matters. If you are injured, and continuing on would make it worse, it is a sound medical decision.

    If you are an elite athlete and you have no chance in a race and DNFing will improve your training for a future race, there is no shame in it. These athletes have put in more training hours than any of the people criticizing them and are not being lazy or unmotivated.

    If you are a new runner and your only goal is to finish, and you quit because the going gets tough... well, yeah. Shame on you for quitting. But that doesn't apply to Olympians.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Dan and sharing your own insight.


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