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My son is a runner and has been doing some marathons over the past several years. Actually, he started running in high school and has kept up over the years. They moved home from Kansas City to the Chicago area this past summer and my son had a chance to enter the Chicago Marathon. About the same time that he was entered I received notice that there was a call for ham radio operators to assist in emergency communications for the aid stations along the route. I volunteered my services and was accepted as well. Since our son was running my wife gladly joined me for the event.

The day started early for for us. We left the house about 2:15 or so, arriving just before 4:30, the intended meet time for the 3 hams that were assigned to AS18. We got our radios set up and our gear all situated in time for the initial roll call. There were 2 of us monitoring different channels at all times, one was a logistics net and the other was the medical net. Over the next couple of hours groups of folks arrived to get in position for their assigned tasks. We were right in the same tent as the medical team. Probably 6-8 doctors, 4-6 nurses, and some others associated with the medical division.

The race got underway and it was probably 1 1/2 hours before the first runners passed by our location (24 miles into the course). As time went on more and more, until there was a steady stream of people running up Michigan Avenue. Over the course of the race we probably had 6-8 individuals that were transported on the ambulances and many more that were treated for various ailments at our station.

All in all, it was a great day. My wife spent some time with our daughter-in-law who was there to watch our son (her husband), and our daughter and son-in-law who came to watch Neil as well. We all got a chance to see him as he went by. I told my wife that I would have run with Neil but I was afraid that he'd have hurt himself trying to keep up with me (joke there, folks!). Here is a link to a video I made of the photos I took at the marathon. The photos I have posted here were taken at a marathon in Kansas City, but wanted to post my sons photo for his efforts anyway. In one of the photos our other son, Cory, was standing by Neil after the race. He went down with us to cheer his brother on. Then, there is a photo of my wife, Linda, and I with Neil. I know it's hard for you to believe, but Neil is in the center and I am on the left side of the photo.

Hope you enjoy the photos. The video didn't turn out very well, but you can get a sense of the atmosphere at the Chicago Marathon. If anyone would like any information on becoming an amateur radio operator, drop me an email or PM and I'll see that you get some information. It is a very satisfying hobby and you can really help with communications during special events and disasters, such as tornadoes and hurricanes.


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