Comments from the 2009 Los Angeles Marathon

I honestly can't think of any complaints as far as the ham operation is concerned. I think net control was very helpful and handled things very well. Like I told net control when I left, there were times where things were so quite that I thought the repeater was broken or something. This of course goes with your saying that the perfect marathon is one where you just check in and then check out. So it sounds like we had a pretty perfect marathon, and out of all the years I've done it I think this one was the most quite. Not too shabby. Thanks a lot and I look forward to next year,

I had a great time as always. I have now worked with Dr. Morris at Med 24 twice and I must say she is WONDERFUL to work with and has a GREAT personality and bedside manors with runners. I hope to work with her in years to come.

Hi Greg, At mile 6 water station. As is usual, some of the things slipped thru the cracks. One of them was that the clock was on the supply truck which was 3/4 of a mile away from the waterstation, and supply truck... We happened to flag down the clock starter van and the clock loaded into the van, as well as myself, to go set up the clock and get it started. My feeling is that the starter team should look for the supply truck and get the clock from there, instead of having the truck have to go deliver it to its position, especially if the clock starter is not even there. The other problem was that the supply truck was told to deliver the water, tables, cups etc. to Western and Exposition, instead of at St Andrews and Exposition. By the time we figured out what had happened they had offloaded most of the stuff at Western and had to put it back on the truck to move it to St Andrews. Another thing was we had two water station amateur operators which was unusual, and no waterstation operator at mile 7 All in all, we had a great time after all of the goofups were worked out.

Greg, Thank you. Considering everyone had fewer volunteers to work with, it appeared to me the Marathon went off smoothly. Since the ham operators are often the first to arrive at a location it was helpful to have the detailed map of the location, including where water stations and other facilities were to be set up. I find the ham operator is generally perceived as being "in the know" so it was good to have accurate information. I thought the repeaters worked perfectly, we had fewer instances of stuck mics and communication loss than last year. I lost contact briefly with net control, I don't know if that was a position issue or a brief technical problem with my radio, but I had no further problems the remainder of the day. Because the weather was so cool we didn't have too many drop out customers so it appeared we were able to spend time on other issues that enhanced the quality of the event. It would be nice if the water station and the clock position were not so far apart. It turned out not to be a major issue at M 17 because no one came until an hour into the race to start the clock and he elected to set it up at the water station. But it was nice after it was running. But it would have been a hassle to walk a 1/4 mile to get the clock and set and return to position. All in all, it was a good, "uneventful" Marathon and I look forward to doing it again next year. Thanks for having me.

Hi Greg, We didn't realize that the water volunteers didn't know to refer runners to us. We should have talked to the water captain when he arrived to make sure that he would instruct his volunteers. That should be part of the instruction that we receive from you and Ted. Neither of us remembered being instructed to do that.

Everything went very smoothly at mile 23. My water station captian and crew tokk lots of pics and I adked them to send me some copies to share with everyone. The captian and many of the crew were from India and fed everyone some wonderful Indian food.

This was my first year working the marathon, and I worked mile 20 water station. I really enjoyed myself, and I look forward to being a part next year. The water captain I worked with, Casey, was fantastic, and I think we got along really good. His band of volunteers (Alpha Pie Omega) were great to work with, and filled with lot's of energy. Our station got off to a rough start, but everything came together. The problem was that the supply truck was at June/6th, and the water station volunteers were all at Rimpau, and neither side wanted to relocate. The supply truck did finally move to Rimpau, but that was after the offical start of the race, so that is why our clock was not setup in time. I hate to complain, but I think the truck driver had a very bad attitude, and I'm not sure why they volunteered, at least I'm assuming they were volunteers. At one point, just after she moved the truck, she got pissed off, and refused to open the back, saying if he (Casey) was so smart, he can open the back, that she didn't know how. This went on for a couple of minutes, and then she finally opened the back so they could unload. The station finally got up and running, and it went pretty smooth after that. Again, I really enjoyed working the race, and I hope that I did alright for my first time. If there are any notes, or suggestions, I would really like to hear so I can do a better job. I did not get involved with the dispute between the water captain, and the truck driver, as I know it was beyond my control. I did call into net control, but on the land line to report it, and I was told they would have to work it out themselves. In looking back, it was a bit comical, and it just adds to the fond memories I have of working the LA Marathon. 73's and I look forward to helping out next year.

Greg, First, thank you for the opportunity to support the LA Marathon. I really enjoyed my experience. I am a brand new operator (I'm sure it showed), but feel that I gained more experience yesterday and hope to be able to come back next year and support the marathon again. The only thing that came up that caused us some concern was a report that we were directing runners to a drop area that was incorrect. We had 2 runners come to us asking for a ride back and we sent them to the corner of Hauser and Venice (as indicated on our map). We are not sure where the other information came from. Would it be possible to ask the Water Station Captains to inform their volunteers that if a runner comes to them looking for assistance, they should direct that runner to the radio operator. What I did observe from talking with other volunteers is that we, the radio operators, were given the best instructions. Other volunteers were given such insufficient information it impeded their ability to do a good job (e.g., our clock person was not told where the water station was located to get the clock, the people driving the water trucks were given conflicting instructions, etc.).

Hi, Ted. Great job by you and John at Net Control today. It's time you get some well deserved rest. Once you have recovered, you will probably want to gather feedback on the day from the ham volunteers. If I don't get my thoughts down quickly, I may forget them, so here you go. Radio-related: - Coverage of both repeaters appeared excellent. I would "turn down" the level of the CW ID'er, since it blasted the ears of those of us wearing headphones whenever it came on. It should be below the level of a normal voice. - Our arrival (and, apparently, that of other stage ops) was far earlier than that of other mile workers. Since general vehicular traffic was not closed down until much later, I think we could have arrived 30 to 60 minutes later and been just fine. - Getting bib number for lead male and female runners is extremely difficult at the early stages, as the leaders are part of large packs all bunched close together. Unless that's important information for our safety function, I suggest we take that out of the instructions. - As we were leaving, we heard a stuck-mic problem on the main mile repeater. One trick you might mention in orientation is to have stations listen on the input when you annnounce "stuck mic" to try and isolate the location of the problem. Ops should also be told to switch automatically to the back-up repeater if the carrier doesn't drop after a minute or so. Then a quick roll call should further narrow down the problem. Non-Radio: - No one ever came to get the mile-4 clock. It sat in the truck for the entire race. The distance between our water / comm station and the mile marker made it impractical for us to haul it to the correct spot and useless to set it up where we were. (Runners probably don't care about times that are not actual mile splits.) If the race officials and/or runners care about the clocks, perhaps setting up the water stations closer to the mile markers would provide a viable alternative when the timekeeper crews can't do the job. - The water crews were apparently not aware of the rakes in the supply truck or the need for them to move cups and other trash to the sides of the road. They may need more explicit instructions in this regard. - The sweepers unintentionally pushed a lot of paper cups and other trash into unprotected curb drains, which lead to the ocean. The city needs to either cover those drains, at least temporarily, or instruct the sweepers to stop short of them. It was a pleasure to work with Tom KI6CCW at Mile 4 and with you and John on the other end of the radio. Once again, nice job.