Ham Radio Supports Uwharrie Mountain Run 2013
How do you keep track of 500 runners, traversing 40 miles of Uwharrie National Forest trails on a cold, cloudy Saturday and keep them from getting lost?
You ask your local amateur radio clubs to man strategic locations providing essential communications where cellphone communications may be questionable or nonexistent due to the terrain.
On Saturday, Feb. 2, that is exactly what happened.
The 17th running of the Uwharrie Mountain Run and first area ultra-marathon of 2013 was hosted by the Bull City Runners in the Uwharrie National Forest.
Runners from North Carolina and several surrounding states participated.
A sizable contingent of experienced amateur radio operators from Stanley, Montgomery and Moore county amateur radio societies spent a long day keeping track of the runners.
Unfortunately, a runner was injured during the race, and ham radio operators were instrumental in notifying emergency services personnel in getting him out of the woods.
Hams used the Stanly County repeater and personal 2-meter portable and mobile radios, some with creative antenna arrangements, to communicate with each other, the aid stations, transportation hub at the Eldorado outpost and with the start-finish.
Hams handled calls ranging from simple things like more drinks for runners to injuries that required coordination of emergency rescue.
Finally, hams and family volunteers tracked the runners on the eight-, 20- and 40-mile races so that start-finish could provide the race officials with an accurate accounting of all runners.
Mark Wehner (KJ4ZEK) walked the entire eight-mile course to sweep for runners. Wehner's walk came in handy when 50 of the eight-mile runners got off the trail, and he was able to guide them back onto the trail and alert race officials that the runners had been off course.
The following hams and volunteers represented MOCARS: Grant Russell, Ben Griffin, Mark Wehner, Michelle Wehner, Jonathan Poverud, J. Hammond, April Hammond, Richard Hammond, Robert Wittman, Tom Kimball, Jim Johnson, Jim Brock, Dean Stockwell, Howard Stockwell and Lionel Bryson.
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