140.6/Full Distance Triathlon

A Little Perspective on 140.6 Miles

By March 28, 2012No Comments

Do you ever get a ho-hum response when you are talking about triathlons with a non-triathlete? You share with them how many miles you will be completing and from their response you might as well be talking about a jog around the block. I think it is because most people need to have some perspective to the miles you are talking about. We all know the numbers. A full distance triathlon is 140.6 miles, and it is 70.3 miles for a half-distance event. But in conversation that is all those really are, just numbers.

How to better explain the distances a triathlete completes was a question I was thinking about the other day as I was talking with someone about the Michigan Titanium. As a volunteer for the race, I spend time sharing with others about it, and it wasn’t the first time I have received the unsure “I guess that is far…” look. It made me think, I need to put these distances into better perspective. So I spent a little time on Mapquest and have the following point of view to share:

The full distance race, 140.6 miles, is roughly:

  • Kalamazoo, Michigan to the Magnificent Mile in Chicago
  • Grand Rapids to Traverse City, Michigan
  • Ludington to St. Joseph, Michigan

The half-distance race, 70.3 miles, is roughly


  • Grand Rapids to Lansing, Michigan
  • Ann Arbor to the Detroit suburbs and back
  • Kalamazoo, Michigan to South Bend, Indiana

It is different when you talk about it this way. It definitely becomes more than just a number. The distances become something most people have no trouble relating to.

Individually, completing these distances is extremely impressive. But it got me thinking about the group of Michigan Titanium participants as a whole. What would the combined number of miles of all those who will be participating on August 26th be?

In 17 hours, the combined efforts of 400 full distance athletes and 200 half-distance athletes would equal almost THREE trips around the circumference of the earth at the equator or 70,300 miles!! So next time you get the unsure look, share this perspective and get the “WOW” responses it so deserves!

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