That was the case for Steve Bender, a Pennsylvania professional athlete who runs marathons in a firemen’s clothing, albeit with running tennis shoes, on behalf of his Firemen 5 Structure. When the temperature sneaked past 90 for the Morgantown Marathon in West Virginia in October 2019, he stopped simply after the middle. “I was beginning to see things, beginning to get upset,” he said. “It was getting hotter and hotter.”
Entrants may also discover themselves in difficulty if they cut corners in their training plans. Training programs for marathons are extreme, generally lasting 18 weeks and reaching 25 to 30 miles a week usually. “Coaches like to say the hardest part of a marathon is getting to the starting line healthy,” said Chris Forti, a coach of the Dashing Whippets running team in New York. “If you’re able to pull that off, more often than not you’re okay.”
Marathon veterans state it’s the experienced distance runners, paradoxically, who are more likely to give up. First-timers will do whatever it takes to reach the goal. Elite runners may realize they’re having an off day and decide it’s unworthy slogging for 26.2 miles. “If they’re not going to win a race or location, they may stop and that’s it,” said Kathleen Titus, the race director of the Philadelphia Marathon. “They’ll save their legs for another race they can contend in and win prize money.”
For Jonelle Drugan, who ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 2017 two weeks after running the Chicago Marathon, it was too many marathons in too little time.”It was a superhot day for both races, and Chicago took a lot more out of me than I anticipated,” she said. “I just didn’t have it.”
Whatever the reason for the D.N.F., those who stop working to complete say the experience is absolutely nothing except heartbreaking. Lots of runners describe the very same experience after making the decision to stop: resting on the curb with their head in their hands, tears streaming down their face, before figuring out a method home.
“The very first thing that comes through your mind is all the time you invested training,” stated Maria Luisa Cesca, who as soon as sustained a hamstring injury throughout the Jacksonville Marathon. “You were doing so well, numerous early mornings with 4:30 a.m. runs before the kids get up.”
Runners who discussed their D.N.F. said it was important for them to attempt another marathon. The reward is that a lot more meaningful, they stated, after formerly coming up short.