A Half A Marathon, But A Whole Lot Of Fun

Boston ARC logoBob Salow, WA1IDA writes:

The ham public service events are winding down for this year, so soon you can relax (except for the “real” disasters). Here we are at the Eighth Annual BAA Half Marathon. For the past seven years this event received huge acclaim in the athlete’s world – largely because of the skills and experience of the organizers and support staff (we are definitely a part of that). The Half is run almost entirely in Boston (2% in Brookline), with more than 5000 local, national and international athletes expected. Proceeds benefit the Jimmy Fund.

Our ham radio team has been asked again to support communications for this event doing our usual medical, water and administrative tasks. We definitely need your help – and more hams. Time is short.

The Half Marathon will be held on SUNDAY, 12 OCTOBER 2008. Time and other details are below. The course is along the length of the “Emerald Necklace” (as beautiful as you can get in Boston). The out-and-back route starts and finishes at Clemente Park in the Fenway. It follows the Riverway, Jamaicaway, and Arborway to the Franklin Park Zoo for a turnaround and return on almost the same route.
The weather is likely to be cool and the 13.1-mile course should not be a strain on the athletes. Water and medical stations are spaced appropriately. We also have assignments at several hazardous points. Our duties on the course will be to support these locations, but we also serve as observers of the runners, spectators and local residents (some of their streets are to be closed). Most stations serve both outbound and inbound runners. At Clemente Park, we have a number of fixed and roving medical assignments.

For those assigned to locations on the course, it is preferred that you come to the Start at Clemente Park at 0600. There is free (for volunteers) parking nearby. You can pick up your identity (long sleeve shirt and maybe other stuff), get last minute instructions, and then be transported to your assignment.

If you prefer to drive, you may go directly to your assigned location. I hope to have a ham course Traveler who will deliver your shirt, but this is uncertain. If you plan to drive directly to your station on the course, I may be able to send you a Vehicle Permit (as an email attachment in MS Word) for you to print out. Those assigned to course stations must be on site at 0700 so the (possible) Traveler can meet you briefly and move on. The Traveler would call your station as he approaches. Be ready and go to the Traveler’s car or bus for the ID shirt and any last minute information.

Hams assigned to posts at Clemente Park must be present at 0700 for a briefing and the amenities. Keep in mind that parking in the Fenway area is limited, so allow a few minutes to use the volunteer parking lot. Although the area is T accessible from several directions, the T may not be running at that hour – see www.mbta.com). Parking (at that hour) will also be available at the Landmark Center (formerly the Sears store) on Park Drive at Brookline Ave, but there is a charge for the Landmark parking.

The entire event should be over before 1130, and all roads will be progressively opened. This schedule is what is known now. Better details later.

Because the entire course is compact, very few repeaters need be used. Our present plan is to use both 2-meters and 70-cm, both bands with CTCSS.

WE NEED YOU TO VOLUNTEER. As in the past, we are committed to reliable, professional performance, and the requirements below lead to this goal. Please note them and sign up quickly. Our duties at this event are straight forward and are well suited for hams who have little experience at public service. Each ham must have his or her own radio and accessories – no sharing of equipment can be permitted during the event. Each ham must be self sufficient for the entire period, as we cannot assure partnered assignments.

1. For the duration of this event you are considered a member of the Boston Amateur Radio Club (BARC) and a BAA volunteer. BARC carries a liability insurance policy.

2. To assist in identification and security, you must wear a badge with your name and call sign. Your volunteer credential will be a special long-sleeve shirt provided at the beginning of the day and your bright orange “Emergency Communications” cap (available for $5.00 – let me know if you need one).

3. Our communications support is provided only by licensed Amateur Radio operators, Technician class or above. Be sure to have a good photocopy of your valid license and a call sign badge with you.

4. Because of the terrain and expected radio traffic congestion, you should have a full size antenna (that is, better than a minimal “rubber duck”) and a battery supply sufficient to run at your maximum power if necessary. While you will mostly listen and rarely transmit, the best guide is for 8 hours of battery capability. The ambient noise level may be high, so an inexpensive headset (not just an ear plug) is strongly recommended.

5. To present ourselves as professional and proficient, you must be neatly dressed. The bright orange “Emergency Communications” cap is essential for identification. Local residents and the media will be watching.

6. Expect the media. If you are interviewed, state that you are a ham radio operator, and give only a very brief statement about what your assignment is. Then refer the interviewer to our public relations staff (call Net Control for direction). Please do not offer prolonged descriptions of the joys of ham radio.

More hams are needed. Please spread the word in your local club and to your on-the-air friends! Anyone interested should contact me directly ASAP. We also need you to understand that although we must call for more hams now, final staffing needs may not match the number of ham volunteers. Therefore, a very small possibility exists that we still may not be able to give everyone an assignment.

As the event date gets closer, instead of formal briefings, those who volunteer will receive an email with the assignment, a detailed description of the assignment site and other information.

If you can give this event your help, please contact me as soon as possible. We also need to know if your radio has 2-meters with CTCSS and if you have the 70-cm band. If you have any questions about participation, do not hesitate to contact me.

When you reply, please include the following information:

Your best email address for last minute information. Can you open an MS Word email attachment?

Are you available to drive, and, if assigned on the course (not
assured), would you drive there directly?
Your shirt size.

If you have already informed me that you are available, please reply to this message anyway.


Bob Salow, WA1IDA
508.650.9440 (H)
617.650.0062 (Cell)

C 2008 WA1IDA – S/080907

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