A couple friends ran the St. Charles Marathon this past weekend. Or at least attempted. It was cancelled after 10 miles due to flooding.

A friend of mine several weeks ago attempted Pikes Peak and it was cancelled due to weather.

Several friends of mine attempted Ironman Kansas in August (a Half Ironman) and it was cancelled due to weather.

One of my friends attempted ALL THREE of these! Three races in a row and DNF'ed due to no fault of his own.

Now here is my question. Is it okay to take a medal for something you did not finish? Even if it was at no fault of your own.

I say no. It's not okay. You didn't finish. It doesn't matter how close you were.

At St. Charles they gave everyone half marathon medals. Well...they didn't finish a half marathon. I don't care if it felt like you ran 13. You only ran 10. For me...the medal would have gone in the trash. And everyone knows how much of a medal whore I am so that is saying a lot.

Pike's Peak...from what I remember, they did get above the half marathon point, so I see half marathon medals being given out. Fine. I would have kept that-IF it were a half marathon medal and I covered 13.1 miles.

IMKS...they gave out medals to people who didn't finish. Medal...again would have been in the trash. Again, if you didn't finish-you shouldn't get a medal.

I know a lot of work, dedication, blood, sweat and tears went into all of this training. We all put a lot into our training and it really sucks if we are not able to finish-especially when something is out of our control. And add in the fact that for some of these races, people have thrown a lot of money into it as well traveling cross country to get to a race (airfare, hotel, rental car and whatever else it takes). I understand all of that. And it sucks. But buck up...get that next race lined up and finish that one. Unless you're Rick who can't seem to get a break!

Am I the only one that thinks this way? I would really like to hear what others have to say, what they think on this and the reasoning behind it.


  1. Weather doesn't creep up on you...the race directors must have known the conditions...

    I know at the Kettle Ultra earlier this summer they gave out "the kettle" if and when you reached a certain point in the run, they have torrential rains, hail and a tornado....well, I'd want my "kettle" if I got 60 miles ++ into the race and they cancelled it...but would always tell the story about it, recognizing that it was a DNF....because there were faster funs who DID Complete it....

    just my opion of cours...

    but for marathons and halfs...suck it up...you didn't finish....

  2. that should have read

    "faster runners" who DID Complete....

    ooppsss, you had me riled up!! LOL..

  3. Thanks Laurel. I am just wondering how others feel. Good or bad to what I have to say. I think it's a very interesting topic and a lot of people have a lot of different views.

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  6. Rick-About 'throwing them away', I actually probably would throw them away or like you, toss them in a box in the closet.

    I do like your idea of still having them for the sake of memory but just not displaying them with all the other medals you have on events you actually 'went the distance'.

    Thanks for your insight.

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  8. I deleted my earlier comment because after thinking about it for 24 hours I thought it was way too restrained.

    I am the friend who "attempted" all three events and "DNF'ed" all three. There is a HUGE difference between cancellation/course modification and DNF. DNF=couldn't hack it. I've only DNF'ed one event in my life and it wasn't any of these three. In two of these, the course had to be modified by the race directors due to weather, and I completed the entire course that was available to me that day and did cross the finish line. In the third (Pikes Peak) the race was actually cancelled mid-stream and a finish line no longer existed. In all three races I was well ahead of the cutoffs, and was never even close to not being physically or mentally able to continue.

    Kim, I normally enjoy your blog and most of your posts are positive, but this one points people out in a negative light and is just wrong. I have all three medals in a box in my closet but I don't really give a flying flip about them either way, and I don't care whether you think I should have them or not. That is up to me.

    Buck up... I'll just bite my tongue on that one.

  9. I've been reading these back and forth comments with interest, and thought I'd put in my perspective for whatever its worth.

    It's great what you've done here--you've gotten several runners to express some differing views on an aspect of racing. It's exciting to see such an open discussion.

    But, I have to agree with Rick. To me DNF means you couldn't finish and the race went on as scheduled. To have the race called doesn't mean you DNF'd it. It means the race was called. I'd totally view the race differently if I had reached my own personal limits, and couldn't go on. I would never take a medal for that.

    However, a race that was called... whether I took the medal or did anything with it... I'm not sure. I think I'd have to think about the race, how far it was, etc. I'd probably bring home the medal just to tell my kids the story of the extreme conditions.

  10. Oh My Rick! Not sure you understood the post. I clearly stated that's what I THOUGHT. It's MY blog. That's what I do here. If you disagree-that's fine. I wanted others opinions on this issue as I clearly stated that in my post. We obviously have different opinions on what DNF is. It means DID NOT FINISH and that is what has happened. The distance was NOT covered. Not just you. I think there were thousands of people who DNF'ed. AGAIN...I'll state...at no fault of anyones ability (in some cases)-it was the weather. Still not sure how you see that as me posting something negative-but okay. You're opinion.

    Next, people are going to be given medals when they get injured the day before a race. They did the training. They can't compete at no fault of their own. Where will the line be drawn?

  11. Runner Grrl-Thanks for your opinion. That's what I wanted here. Just thoughts on what you have done or would do. I posted what I would do-not what others Should do. Appreciate the positive insight!

  12. I agree with you Kim.. If the full course was not completed due to my fault or "god's fault" than I didn't finish.. but that's just the way I would feel... and I wouldn't accept the medal (I would still wear the t-shirt if it was "gods fault" but not if it was my fault)