Finishing TNF100 - Can Last Years DNF Stats Teach Us Anything? 

Posted by Nick Monday, May 14, 2012 6:11:00 PM

Finishing TNF100 - Can Last Years DNF Stats Teach Us Anything?

Prompted by some FB discussion, I decided so run some stats on the DNF from last year.  Surprisingly, the highest drop-out checkpoint was CP4 at the Aquatic Centre, with 60 pulling the pin here.  I would have guessed CP3, with a huge amount of the race still in front of you and the Nellies Glen climb jsut ahead.  While CP3 was the second most popular spot to call it quits, CP4 was way ahead, claiming 40% of total scalps for non-finishers.

Checkpoint DNF Count
1 21
2 18
3 37
4 60
5 16


While not all DNFs occur at checkpoints, for the purposes of analysis, the last successful checkpoint reached was used.


One of the most common beliefs is that going hard too early is the leading cause of DNFs.  Following this logic, and with CP4 being the "DNF Death Zone", you'd expect to see a fast arrival at CP2 to signal that problems were on the way.  Interestingly, the average time to CP2 for the 60 folks that ended their race at CP5 was just over 6 hours - almost an hour slower than the 5.12 recorded by race finishers.

So what lessons do the stats hold:

  • The middle of the race is the most dangerous time from a DNF perspective, with Ironpot and Nellies being the two big killers.  Take care of yourself in these sections.
  • "Fast" starts don't seem to be a real problem.  Of the 60 CP4 DNFs, only 8 reached CP2 on what I consider Silver Buckle pace (4hrs40mins), so its not like there is a sizable population of under-prepared runners taking off too fast early on with dreams of silver and crashing and burning up Nellies.
  • Again looking at CP4 DNFs, the average time into CP4 was just over 12hours - 16 hours remaining to cover the last 33km, so it certainly wasn't a time issue.  The last CP4 DNF arrived in 17 hours, so was still very much on pace to finish.  The take-away here is that injury and illness were clearly the issue, not the ability to beat cut-offs.  

Final take-away - Run to a pace that feels good and comfortable, and keep on top of injuries and nutrition as they are the only things that can really stop you.

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