On Sunday, November 10, 2013 I helped with communications for the Madison Marathon.
My thanks to Dane County ARES for letting me particpate and doing all of the organization that let me basically just show up and help.
This was my first Public Service Event.
I don't have any major issues or problems to report, except for a problem at the beginning of the event with an antenna on the primary repeater, which was quickly resolved, communications worked really well. The weather was excellant. It was cold, espeically getting there at 06:30AM. I was very glad to have my 5 layers under my volunteer t-shirt and safety vest. The coffee and soup in thermoses in my backpack were good to have, too!
It was heartbreaking, it was inspiring.
What made it hearbreaking and inspiring was seeing some of the special runners. Seeing and hearing people cheering on friends and family. Watching as one runner collapsed at the finish line and the Madison FD roll them away on a stretcher. Hearing the calls over the Net as runners were not able to finish the event and had to request to be picked up. Overhearing runners talk about running through cramps, throwing up. Seeing runners collapse, crying, into loved ones arms. Friends and family posing with runners to get pictures to capture the moment. The lady that was running on her 50th birthday. All of these things affected me.
These are some of the 'wheelchair' athletes prepping in the chute.
I had never heard of this group before, but they are very, very cool. myTEAM TRIUMPH:
myTEAM TRIUMPH is an athletic ride-along program created for children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities who would normally not be able to experience endurance events such as triathlons or road races.
This is Fireman Rob a Madison firefighter, athlete and motivational speaker. He competes in road races and the running portion of triathalons wearing 50lbs of firefighter gear. For this event he also did it pushing one of the team captains for myTEAM TRIUMPH.
After all the long races started, they held a 1k Kids Run.
The offical photographers needed a ladder to setup on...
One of the myTEAM TRIUMPH captains finishing the race.
One of the first wheelchair finishers.
I had to take a picture of this ladies shirt as I was taking some lost and found items to the Info Tent.
Another firefighter running, this one for Breast Cancer Awareness.
When I mentioned that this was the shortest Medical Support person I had seen, I was informed that he was also the most senior.
Another of the myTEAM TRIUMPH captains finishing the race.
Running to support our Vetrans.
As I was walking out, heading for my car, I saw this guy go riding by...
Will I be doing this again? In a word, Yes. I helped several people directly as well as participating in the Net with my fellow Amateur Radio operators supporting the aid stations.
This was a good day.
For those that might be interested in my setup:
- Spandex/polyester base layer
- longsleeve t-shirt
- pullover windbreaker
- voluneeter tshirt
- yellow safety vest
I used a Wouxun KG-UV3D 2M/70cm HT with a 16" Diamond SRJ77CA whip antenna for communications, with an external mic and earphone. I had a spare battery, as well as an AA battery pack with two sets of batteries ( 10 AA total ).
I had a 40oz thermos of coffee, a thermos of soup, a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich, almonds, creamer and sweetner for the coffee and even some dark chocolate Hershey Kisses, all thanks to my lovely XYL, Jane.
I had a fleece scarf and mittens/fingerless gloves. ( I wore my knit fingerless gloves. )
I had a compartment clipboard with all the notes and map of each aid station location, extra pens, sharpies, ruled paper, 3x5 cards and a grid paper pad.
I also had all of the maps, roster of who else was on communicaions and other documentation saved on my Nexus7.
All of this fit into my backpack. The same one that I used to carry my books around in high school... over 18 years ago now.
I was also carrying my Nikon D40, which is what I used to take all of these pictures.