For some marathon runners, it’s all about their time, while other runners have a goal focused on completing the race. Either way, I think that most who sign up for such a strenuous run are expecting the route to be 26.1 miles.

This wasn’t the case at the PNC Milwaukee Marathon – and the route wasn’t off by a small amount, it was .8 miles or 4,224 feet shy of the standard distance. So the runners who thought they had a spectacular time, in reality, did not, and those who believe they qualified for the Boston Marathon did not do that either. The year before, someone set up the cones incorrectly making this same marathon too long by almost a mile. Yikes!

It would seem that for something as important as the route distance that someone would double check it after it had been set up. Both times, the error appears to have occurred in interpreting the route map, and especially after a debacle in 2016, you would think that having a correct distance would have been Job #1 for this year’s marathon.

I am sure that hosting a 26-mile race for 785 runners is a logistical challenge, just as your organization faces many complex issues to resolve. But take a lesson from Milwaukee and don’t get so caught up in the minor details that you fail to deliver the core element of your experience. Measure your route. Twice.

Source: Runners react to PNC Milwaukee Marathon distance blunder; Boston Marathon won’t accept times by Lori Nickel in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online, October 19, 2017.

 Thanks, Meg!


About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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