Did Not Finish

In racing, Did Not Finish (DNF) denotes a participant who does not finish a given race, either because of a mechanical failure, injury, or involvement in an accident.[1] The term is used in all forms of racing, including automotive racing, horse racing,[2] cycling,[3] track and distance running, and skiing, among other types of racing. Athletes try very hard to avoid receiving a DNF, and many associate it with a negative stigma.[4]

Scholarly researchEdit

DNFs have been the subject of numerous studies that seek to figure out why DNF rates vary greatly, even within the same competitive discipline. For example, in track and field, Edouard found a 22% overall DNF rate among high level decathlon competitors but DNF rates in individual events ranging from less than 1% to over 6%.[5]

DNFs are also not always evenly distributed across all participants. For example, a 2009 New York Times analysis of New York City Marathon results concluded that recreational competitors were more likely to finish the race rather than be classified as DNF: "Elite runners seem more inclined to drop out rather than simply complete the race, and runners visiting from abroad seem more inclined to push themselves to the finish line no matter their time."[6] Glace et al. (2002) performed ANOVA analysis of finishers as compared to DNFs in an ultramarathon and concluded that they had statistically different nutrition and liquid intake.[7] Holbrook et al. found physiological differences between finishers and DNFs among horses engaging in long distance races.[8]

Related termsEdit


  1. ^ McCormick, Steve. "DNF". NASCAR racing. About.com. Archived from the original on 5 September 2017. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  2. ^ Thuneberg-Selonen, Terhi; Pösö, Jukka; Mäntysaari, Esa; Ojala, Matti (1999). "Use of individual race results in the estimation of genetic parameters of trotting performance for Finnhorse and Standardbred trotters" (PDF). Agricultural and Food Science in Finland. 8 (4–5): 353–363. ISSN 1795-1895. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  3. ^ Moore, Oliver (21 June 2006). "Canadian cyclist nears finish line of gruelling race; Aided by painkillers for injured knee, Wallace pedals on to Atlantic City". The Globe and Mail. p. A14.
  4. ^ Rayner, Gordon (31 Aug 2012). "Cyclist Jody Cundy apologises for disqualification rant". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  5. ^ Edouard, P. (April 2011). "Frequency of dropouts in decathlon: An epidemiological retrospective study". Science & Sports. 26 (2): 97–100. doi:10.1016/j.scispo.2010.11.002.
  6. ^ Lehren, Andrew W. (June 3, 2009). "Finish Line in Sight, Final Challenge Is Making It There". New York Times. p. B14.
  7. ^ Glace, Beth W.; Murphy, Christine A.; McHugh, Malachy P. (December 2002). "Food Intake and Electrolyte Status of Ultramarathoners Competing in Extreme Heat". J Am Coll Nutr. 21 (6): 553–559. doi:10.1080/07315724.2002.10719254.
  8. ^ Holbrook, T. C.; Birks, E. K.; Sleeper, M. M.; Durando, M. (August 2006). "Endurance exercise is associated with increased plasma cardiac troponin I in horses". Equine Veterinary Journal. 38 (S36): 27–31. doi:10.1111/j.2042-3306.2006.tb05508.x.