Nearly 3 dozen Amateur Radio volunteers in Hawaii were up bright and early on Sunday, December 11, to support the 44th running of the Honolulu Marathon. The event is the fourth largest marathon in the US and attracts around 30,000 participants each year. The ham volunteers communicate vital information among race organizers, aid stations, transportation vehicles, and law enforcement, as well as at the finish line.
“I participated in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Honolulu Marathons as a ham radio operator,” said volunteer Clem Jung, KH7HO. “I thought this year was the best run, and we had the most hams participating.” This year 35 Amateur Radio operators supported communication on 2 meters and 70 centimeters, and some served as operators for non-amateur digital systems.
Radio amateurs provided vital communication from vans and aid stations to the medical tent, where concerns ranged from a head injury to cramps and stomach pains. Amateur Radio volunteers ensured that the aid station and medical teams were ready to treat anyone needing help. Ralph Toyama, NH6PY, handled the critical role of net control station (NCS), and the ham radio volunteers kept him apprised of medical van locations, so the NCS could dispatch them where and when needed.
Some Amateur Radio volunteers put in an 18-hour day for the marathon, remaining on duty until the last participant completed the 26.2-mile run. — Thanks to ARRL PIO Stacy Holbrook, KH6OWL