What’s worse? DNS or DNF.


I would have finished the Richmond Park Marathon by now. Instead, I am mooching around my flat, having not run a mile, my thoughts drifting forward to a fortnight’s time when I will be – all being well – embroiled in an attempt on the Bob Graham round. I had to pull out of today’s marathon, although I left it until 9pm last night before making the final, inevitable decision. It is always disappointing to drop out. Not least because it’s the third time I’ve had to pull out of a marathon, having bailed out of a London some years ago and Loch Ness more recently.

There was no sense in starting and seeing how it goes. Running when I shouldn’t have been running caused this problem, so it would be idiocy to aggravate an injury unnecessarily. Besides, not starting must be better than starting and dropping out mid-race, physically and psychologically.

I’ve got form when it comes to this. Most hopelessly optimistic of all, I ran the Moray half-marathon several years ago, despite carrying a calf strain going into the race. I lathered the limb with some Deep Heat-type substance in the vague hope that this would somehow rid me of pain. It didn’t. Within the first mile (after going off fast), I felt (and heard) my calf pop. I carried on, limping all the way to the finish. I constantly entertained the prospect of DNF from mile 2 to 13.1, but wouldn’t allow myself to act on such poisonous thoughts. Besides, I had to get back to Elgin somehow; I may as well run.

And that is exactly what I would have done today in Richmond Park. I may have got round uninjured, untroubled, of course, but had the niggles returned I would have run through them, wouldn’t have pulled out, no way. So, to answer my self-posed question: when there is no such thing as DNF, the best course of action – to save me from myself, to save my Bob Graham – is DNS.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. You’re right! A marathon should not be taken lightly. If you’re injured, you’re injured….

  2. Zoltan says:

    Don’t pull out of the BG yet, but don’t run a single meter for 2 weeks from now! You don’t need the training you need the rest. I’ve done 85 and 100k within 2 weeks but no run in between. Besides, I was not injured. The achilles problem might come back during the BG but it Will come back if you train any more. Cheer up and good luck! Z

  3. Roger Muir says:

    What Zoltan says!!

    You wont listen to me. 🙂

  4. Sorry Jonny – have to agree with your dad. As a dad, I can say that dads are generally full of sound advice – as one day I hope you’ll find out from the other side of the fence

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