Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Cure for "Death Before DNF"

This is by far one of the best bumper stickers I've seen out there.  "Did Not Finish" is not an option for many of us.  We'll stumble, crawl, hobble, and bleed all the way to the finish line if need be.  The medical team may come over and tell us "Your day is done" and we respond reflexively with "Why?"

But I've found a local triathlon series that limits the possibility.

The Lake Terramuggus Triathlon series is the local sprint and olympic triathlon series that I participate in each year and until I volunteered at the Olympic race this past Saturday, I hadn't realized how participant friendly the race is.

In most races, if you don't make a cut-off, your day is done.  At Lake T, the only cut off that will cause you a DNF is the swim, but you get a free swim lesson!  After the swim, the bike has multiple loops, so if you don't make the bike cut-off on the first loop, you are forced to enter T2 and start your run.  Sure, you get cut short, but you at least get the chance to have the full tri experience.

It wasn't until Saturday when I had to tell people they didn't make the bike cut-off that it wasn't that bad.  A participant yelled back at me "But I still have one lap left" and I was able to respond "Enjoy the run!" instead of "Your day is done."  And that felt great!!

I've often thought that the cut-offs at the bigger races are somewhat odd.  If you don't make the bike cut-off, what is it going to hurt to allow them to run and just put their results at the bottom of the results page; it provides a better experience for the athlete and still preserves the competitive nature of the race.

So down with "Death Before DNF!"  Just tell your local race director that you would like to see him/her change the rules a bit.


1.  Do you know of any races that offer athletes the chance to continue racing when they've missed a cut-off?  
The Lake T Series is the only one I know of, but I assume others would be local races and not the big name venues.

2.  Have you ever not made a cut-off time?  If so, please share the experience!
Did you take it well, or was it a real downer?



Coy Martinez said...

That's a great idea, especially for newcomers.

Michael said...

I like that idea too. Or I also think in a tri if you can't complete a segment - say you get pulled from the swim or have a flat on the bike and can't finish it that you should still get to do the rest even if your results don't "count"