First the Marathon Lottery, Then the Pressure to Finish:
Mary Wittenberg, the New York City Marathon race director, said she would not mind seeing more runners drop out.
“We probably have more people who hang in there and shouldn’t,” she said. Her worry is that runners go too far and ignore physical warning signs, pushing themselves to the point of injury or worse.
Recreational runners may push too hard to finish because of “external pressures,” according to Dr. Jeffrey L. Brown, a Harvard Medical School psychologist who evaluates participants in the Boston Marathon and other races. Such pressures include dedicating a race to a loved one, raising money for charity or battling a disease.