A Few Words About The New “Staff Ride Heritage Series” Marathon Format

by Ed Bandas

Most of you have heard the exciting news of the expansion of the format for The Army Marathon, the restructuring/delay of the “live” event for one year, and may be wondering what is happening–and why.

I will address the “why” below.  First, though, let me lay out the “what” to set the stage:

  • We are creating The Army Marathon – “Staff Ride Heritage Series”. A staff ride is used by commanders all over our military to bring to life the lessons of war to our subordinate commanders.
  • Going forward, we envision having both virtual and “live” races, retaining the traditional race while adding the new digital form.  At this point, we are looking at The Army Marathon IV to return to the traditional format, but perhaps with a revised route.
  • By holding the virtual races, we continue to raise funds and awareness to great non-profits that benefit our heroes.
  • By doing this new format of virtual racing, we also bring our military heritage to life for everyone participating.
  • We will continue the Heritage Series of races.

Many of these plans are already being executed and will be discussed as we move forward.

Now, the “why”:  In order to grow, organizations must be forward-looking.  They cannot stagnate.  They can’t rest on past successes and ignore a changing environment.  And they should be prepared to take advantage of promising initiatives.  Lessons learned from our first three years suggest that the current model may not have all the growth potential we want, partly because of the burgeoning number of races around the country.  But, building on our surprising early success in races The Army Marathon I through III, we are in good position to branch out, to create an even stronger structure. Moreover, advances in the digital world have opened entirely new possibilities for us to consider.  Transforming our structure from a single approach to a multiple one has good promise for the future.

During our discussions with our senior advisors, a couple of very wise general officers, one of them said it succinctly: “Don’t try to glue wings on a caterpillar and call it a butterfly. A butterfly evolves from the caterpillar.” This is exactly what we are trying to do.

So we make this decision to transform our event. We move forward with the faith that our friends will recognize our true mission – to raise funds and awareness for qualified veterans’ charities – and will continue to have fun running with us and bringing friends along who now have the ability to race our event in as many stages as they wish. Our mission is above just having a physical event (although that’s a lot of fun also!).

We look forward to having you join us as We Run With Heroes®!