Would you ever cross a finish line at a race where you didn't run the entire distance? And if you did, would you take a medal?
I wouldn't. But I know someone who did, quite recently, and it pissed me off - to the point where I can't stop being angry about it.
Here's the deal - the North Shore Half Marathon that my cousin ran a couple of weeks ago (the one I skipped because of the heatstroke I suffered at Ragnar), she finished just shy of 3 hours. She ran the entire thing. We know 2 people who didn't. Apparently they were "black flagged" (the race was not), and cut out the loop at Fort Sheridan. They sprinted to the finish line in about 2:20, beating my cousin by almost 40 minutes.
I'm okay if my cousin loses - but I was cheering at mile 6.5, and I never saw these people. I waited for 3 minutes after Jill left. Never saw them. I can do math.
I saw them at mile 13, light years ahead of my cousin. It was hot. I grew very, very concerned. But I shouldn't have.
They got an official time, thereby skewing the results of everyone behind them. They took medals as they crossed the finish line. They posted a picture of said medal on Facebook.
THIS IS NOT OKAY. You didn't run the race, therefore, you shouldn't have crossed the finish line. You are not entitled to the same benefits as those who did. PERIOD. Unless you qualify for one of the exceptions listed below.
Exception #1: A blogging friend of mine ran the Country Music Marathon a couple of years ago. She was hoping to qualify for Boston. There were horrendous thunderstorms, and the race was actually black flagged by the time she got to mile 22. She got a medal. Acceptable.
Exception #2: The 2012 Madison Marathon. The race was cancelled due to the 97 degree forecast. All athletes could either drop down and do the half, or receive a credit for next year's race. They still received the full marathon t-shirts and medals. (Since the cancellation was made the Friday before the race, obviously there was no time to double the order of half stuff.)
I understand the feelings that go along with a DNF. Trust me, I've been there. Not finishing Chicago 2011 was devastating. I cried in the shower every day for 2 weeks. I GET IT. But I didn't step off the course at 13.1, run a weird route to get back to Michigan Ave, jump back on the course and cross the line with people miles faster than me to get a medal. What did I do? I did a walk of shame back to the gear check, picked up my bag, and limped to Ogilvie, LIKE AN ADULT.
So what say you? Do you do the right thing, or do you skew the results?