Some years ago, a local radio station used to air a "Marine Corp Marathon Minute" in the run up to the race. One year they reported on a runner who had not had time to actually train for the race, so he dropped out after five or six miles. But he really loved the MCM, so the next year, again untrained, he got permission to pick up the race at the point where he had dropped out the year before. He finally "finished the race" in three or four years. Amazingly, this was presented as a story of persistence and determination.
I was a marathon runner for 21 years: not elite, and probably a category behind sub-elite at my best. I had some DNFs, and when it happened, I walked off the course. When did we lose our sport? When did it become a 26 mile charity hike ? I heard one Boston newspaper writer saying the "real marathoners" are not the ones running under 2:20, but the ones back in the pack, and I guess the pack is now something over 4:00, even at Boston. I want our sport back.