My first DNF

There is one very fundamental thing each runner must do in order to finish a race.  They must start.  So perhaps I should have titled this post, “My first RSUBDNS.”  Not familiar with that acronym?  It’s short for – registered and showed up, but did not start.  Oh by the way, this is my Lollipop 5K race recap.


I really really really wanted to have a positive Girls on the Run experience.  I fully support their purpose.  They get young girls out running, and I like that.  They help them train for a 5K and give them a lollipop at the end.  I really like that.  So I suppose I will have to be content knowing that the little ones had a good time today.

I, on the other hand, did not.  I was a tad leery after the practice run; the run buddies outnumbered the girls 3 to 1.  But I was hopeful when I received an email this week with the name of the girl I was to run with this morning.

As usual, I arrived on location super early.  I was, in fact, the very first run buddy to sign in.  I wandered around for a bit taking pictures before settling in by the Lake Merritt sign. 



Awhile later the coaches arrived, and soon thereafter, the girls did too.  Well, some of them did.

I waited with the group for about an hour, during which time I was asked to run with “this girl” and then, “or maybe that girl.”  I was asked to run with the girl planning to run with her Dad.  And then the girl running with her brother.  Finally, I was asked to run with the two girls that were lost and hadn’t arrived yet.  Each time I replied by saying, “Sure.  I’ll run with anyone.  Just let me know.  It’s no problem.” 

And it wasn’t a problem…until the race started.  I asked one of the coaches if I should wait behind for the girls that weren’t there yet.  She said yes.  And took off.  I stood there for a few minutes, wondering if she would come back.  When she didn’t, I started down the race course and bumped into another coach.

She was with one girl who had just arrived and on the phone with the other.  Again, I asked if I should wait.  She looked at me, mumbled something into the phone about “buddy”(in Spanish), grabbed the present girl’s hand, and (deja vu) took off.  I was shocked.  I wandered around for another 10 minutes or so, contemplating how I was to find a girl I have never met and convince her parents to trust me (a stranger) with their daughter.  I can only imagine how that conversation would go…

“Hola!  My llamo Laura…er…quiero una cerveza??”  With that, I decided to forego the finish line and go home.


And that is how I spent four hours and $10 in bridge tolls today.

16 thoughts on “My first DNF

  1. Oh, Laura, what a sucky experience! I’m so sorry this didn’t turn out to be a rewarding day for you, because it totally should have. 😦

    • I know…I’m just trying to keep some perspective. I know so many people (especially the girls) have such positive experiences. I’m sure mine was just a fluke.

  2. DNS not DNF. Technically.

    I’ve thought about Girls on the Run, but find myself too socially intimidated (plus, me+kids=not so much). If I’d known I could be ignored and abandoned, I might have been more interested 😉

  3. I hate to hear that! It sounds like such a great cause…but maybe in need of some organization skills. Wish it had gone better for you!

  4. Laura, this is awful. You should definitely let the director of GOTR know about this experience. My experience was positive; however, I was not told beforehand that the girl I ran with did not speak English. I guess that is what I get for signing up to volunteer at the Chinese Learning Center.

  5. This is almost exactly what happened to my coworkers and I! We were paired up with girls who already had parents running with them. The coaches acknowledged us when we came by, but didn’t speak a word. Throughout the chaos, I tried to talk to one about who we were running with, but she flat out ignored me. So we waited and waited and then got frustrated and gave up. We do think the premise of the program is a great one, but the more we thought about it, the more we realized that our school wasn’t following it. They were focused much more on the prizes after running than running itself. It was a sad experience.

    • I’m so sorry to hear that Maria! That is really sad that they were focusing on the prizes…I’ve read the founder’s blog a couple times and I’m sure this was not what she had in mind when she created GOTR. Oh well. I keep trying to tell myself that the race was for the girls and not for me. Still kind of a bummer though.

  6. Well that blows! Sounds like some poor planning to me. Good for you for being willing to take part, and it sucks you did not get to enjoy the race.

    Love your Spanish introduction! 🙂

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