How to Set the World on Fire: The Logistics of Torching a Marathon [INFOGRAPHIC]

How to Set the World on Fire: The Logistics of Torching a Marathon [INFOGRAPHIC]

by Marly Hazen McQuillen
10. August 2012 12:11

What brilliant structure illuminates the world's ultimate athletes? Logistics!

View and share full infographic - Pass the torch!

How to Set the World on Fire: The Logistics of Torching a Marathon

Global relay routing of a glowing torch is a visible example of logistics in action. Thousands of honored individuals become links in a fiery supply chain.

"The flame is constantly kept lit because it represents the athlete spirit," said Jenvara J. Mahautmr, a 2002 torchbearer and former intern at the supply chain solutions company CTSI-Global. "The 'spirit' unites every person on this planet because it is passed between people of different shapes, sizes, backgrounds, etc."

Whether transporting freight or flame, logistics is paramount.

Relay routing: Handle with care

The torch's long-distance multi-carrier route must be handled with care. In-transit tracking of the torch thwarts the loss of precious cargo, and backup torches lit from a shared flame keep the fire burning, just in case.

Backup torches are as practical as they are symbolic. In 1976, rain inundated the cauldron, and an official sparked a new flame from a cigarette lighter. This was quickly snuffed and replaced with fire from a backup torch lit from the original flame.

Savvy event management could alert torchbearers to the possibility of supply chain disruptions. In addition to interruptions caused by hazardous weather, the passing of the torch can be disrupted by counterfeits, such as the one that materialized in 1956.

Groundbreaking modes of transport

Choosing emblematic carriers and modes of transport is part and parcel of the global distribution. Those honored with the title of torchbearer are relied upon to deliver the torch with integrity.

To transport an item of such worldwide significance, intermodal transport provides a multicultural approach where tradition intersects with technology. Relay "runners" may tote their blazing batons over land, water, sky and even space. The infographic includes several examples of "transport a la mode," including the time a satellite lit the flame by laser beam!

View full infographic and embed from Flickr. Pass the torch: Share this infographic!

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