Every time I believe that people have risen to their highest level of incompetence they surprise me by exceeding it .
My Chennai Marathon of 31 August 2008 is one such experience. In fact, I had very cautiously expected them to be unprofessional , chaotic and confused but the degree of that chaos was shocking. I had not run marathons in my life and so I did not know what a well organized one will be like. But project management is one of my favorite subjects and I have always evaluated any project by it ability to meet its objectives and measure it by parameters that help attain the objectives.
My observations of this is based on an assessment of those objectives.
Now Let us look at what are the objectives of the organisers:
1.Their website states that this run is organised for promoting charity for educating deserving children.
2. To promote a running culture in the city.
3. The organisers had given media interview that they wanted to make this marathon the largest in the world in terms of participation.
4. The organisers have also stated as objective to make this event a world class one.
Now lets look at how these objectives are met
1. The post event interview and the speech published in the media states that the organizers have definitely been able to raise substantial funds from the various sponsors. However, since the funds so collected is for general corpus it is not clear whether they have really achieved the target. Since there was a political angle to the whole thing I am sure the collection has exceeded the target, therefore attained the objective.
2. Any change in behavior is a sustained exercise and the real impact can be assessed only on a long term. However, we need catalytic events which trigger as inspiration to change . Has this event been such a catalytic event ? Resounding Yes. The promotion has been good. The brand ambassadors looked sincere, the public response has been enthusiastic. But, promoting culture is a sustained effort and the organisers' core objective is not one of them. They are more like event venture capitalists and their stock in trade is short burst events. Their charter does not figure running even as secondary or tertiary objectives. Therefore, the organisers have met the objectives only partially. In fact, I would dare say that it is no more than a star nite show as far as they are concerned.
3. To make it a largest event and get recognition as such, any novice would know that you need to have that event authenticated by thought leaders. A mere media claim will not make it so. The organizer should be able to substantiate the claim by post event audits and independent scrutiny. There seems to be no effort in that regard. Did they really wanted to make it a massive event ? They are happy with the media reports , it looks like. Even the media reports carried very wide margin of error to make it any credible. I think that objective is also a failure.
4. Finally, the objective of making this a world class one !!! Forget it. It will not be fit event at club level. The chaos was throughout, administration dismal, essentials in disarray and there was no one accountable for any task. Classic case of world class screw up!!!! It is really providence that not many people suffered seriously. After all how can non runners under stand the plight of runners like, running condition, fuelling, medical assistance etc ?
All in all this has been a fiasco big time >>..
But I went there to run and run I did....
I guess I am now a Chennai Runner ...
The C Word - Second Opinion
3 months ago