16 Seconds of Disaster

In honor of the Fourth of July, I share with you one of my favorite Independence Day memories of all time, and one of the most popular i2i blogposts ever. Enjoy your family today and for the rest of the week. The next i2i blog will be on Monday, July 9th.

Age: 11 Gender: F
Distance 10K
Chip Time 1:24:51
Overall Place 35645 / 50007
Gender Place 15128 / 23837
Division Place 9018 / 12982
Age Grade 40.2%

Age: 44 Gender: M
Distance 10K
Chip Time 1:25:07
Overall Place 35788 / 50007
Gender Place 20581 / 26170
Division Place 10736 / 14111
Age Grade 34.4%

The 2009 Fourth of July was memorable to say the least as the Gravitt crew celebrated our nation’s independence by running the Peachtree Road Race together as a family. At least that was the agreement going into the world’s largest 10k. It didn’t exactly turn out that way.

Everything went as planned for the first 6.1 miles. There were lots of laughs and photo ops as our 6-pack stayed tightly together. We were even interviewed at the top of Cardiac Hill, by 11 Alive, and we made the Six O’Clock News.

All was going as planned until the finish line came into sight. It was then that my 11-year-old decided that she would change the rules and make it a race instead of a family outing.

I had turned my head to make sure everyone was still together and keeping pace. After all that’s what good leaders do when they are trying to ensure the well being of women and children in the midst of 55,000 strangers. As I turned back around all I saw was little legs sprinting with amazing speed. My 11-year-old had dropped the hammer and it was too late for me to respond.

In one head turn I had lost 16

seconds of precious time and a race to a little girl. Never mind the fact that I paid her entry fee or that I chose to run a time nearly 40 minutes slower than my personal best just so we could make a family memory. The kid unleashed the fury and then laughed at me! It was 16 seconds that I will never live down.

I learned a valuable lesson during the finish of that race. Namely, never take your eye off of the finish line. Too many leaders get near the end of their leadership race and become distracted. They start looking around at their success and they lose focus on the finish line.

i2i leaders finish well and they have no regrets. Is that true of you? Are you focused on finishing well? I hope so.

It amazes me how years of integrity can be undone with a single bad decision or lack of judgment. 16 seconds of stupidity can wreck a lifetime of leadership influence!

As you evaluate your pace these days try to remind yourself of the following race tips:

1. Keep your eye on your goal.
2. Make sure you live at a sustainable pace.
3. Never assume anything – especially if your little girl is involved!




What is your favorite thing about the Fourth of July?

Leave a Reply to casemater72 Cancel reply


9 years ago

Happy 4th and thanks for your blogs! I forward many of them to my team throughout the year!


9 years ago

Awesome Joel. Thanks & I hope you have a great day too!


9 years ago

Love this blog! Thanks for the reminder, you are so correct! Keep your eye on your goal!


9 years ago

thanks Alice!


9 years ago

a related Peachtree RR observation based on your prior post on persuasion;
I ran with Brooke yesterday (who posted a PR at 1:20) and had to keep telling her to not weave back and forth while running. My goal for us was to start in the middle of Peachtree Street and run straight down the middle. Brooke, however, was using the “plow down the side of the mountain” method and kept drifting to one side then I’d bring her back to the middle then she’d drift to the side again. Only at mile 5 did I make the connection: I believe she wanted to run on the side because so many people were saying, “Go little girl” or “look at that little girl running.” A great reminder for me.
My favorite thing about the 4th – it is truly a holiday for our family since Scott doesn’t have to work most years.


9 years ago

Good stuff Susan. Love the cheers too!


9 years ago

Your absoloutly right Randy, look at Joe Paterno for example. Although what can you do if you have spent a long life like his and accomplished so much good and then someone elses evil deeds bring upon your downfall as well. What can you do in that situation ? Is a lifetime of good all for nothing in a situation like that ? I have been pondering that for awhile. Watcha think ?


9 years ago

It only takes a moment to forfeit a lifetime of integrity. In Paterno’s case, it is not for me to judge him or anyone else. I imagine he would have liked to have had a do-over. I know I have needed a few through the years myself. Thank God for grace!


9 years ago

#1 this week is getting my family back to Coweta area and getting back involved in Crossroads! We have had a terrible time adjusting to where God has taking us, however, his journey for us has been rewarding and soon we find out if he is leading us back to our Church home for Good! We miss you guys and please pray his will be done and bring us back home!
All is true, life choices has caused this great circle of trials but God knows the desires of our hearts and soon opens or closees this opportunity…
With much love,
The Parkers
Casey, Gina, Tristen, Cameron , and Wesley


9 years ago

Awesome to have you guys back! Thanks for the update.

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