Friday, November 21, 2014

JFK Ultramarathon It's going to be Cold

Every year we have a local ultramarathon named after President Kennedy. During this event the local amateur radio club is called to provide safety communications. Amateurs throughout the area including myself volunteer for radio communications for this race. I am stationed at the second aid station at the top of a mountain.

After my bitter cold experience last year I learned a few things:

  • It WILL be cold. So cold that I spent the rest of the day in bed to warm up.
    • Hats, gloves, and a coat are not enough.
    • Standing outside for several hours takes a toll.
  • I will not be able to go warm up on site.
    • This may change this year, there are two operators staged at this aid station this year, in addition there is about a hour and a half between sets of runners.
  • A headlamps is nice, but it can get into people's eyes.
    • Adjustment solved this issue.
    • Many people will ask where you bought the headlamp and insist on more information even after you say it cost $50.
  • Parking in the one pull in space is not acceptable.
    • There is a small parking lot, but last year I did not know if that was related to the private property nearby or for the historical site. The parking space was needed
The cold is the hardest part, getting long johns in my size is not easy. I will make adjustments on my radio so I can operate with a gloved hand. I also bought a Zippo hand warmer to help keep warm this year. Everything was brought into the house this afternoon to make sure it is warmed up before I leave tomorrow. I don't need to don a cold headlamp.

The headlamp will be turned off until it will do the most good. This way I won't have to keep asking people if I'm blinding them. I have some white glow sticks in the car for emergencies. They expire in May, so I am going to use one as part of rotating the stock and to provide some light on site. The other one will be used during field day as they are good for quite a while after expiration.  I will order some more, Gander Mountain charges a lot for those. I need to find out where people can get the headlamp in case I am asked this year, Gander Mountain doesn't sell them anymore.

Parking is no longer an issue since I know where to park. I just hope that I get their early enough so it is easy for me to park without having to navigate around other vehicles.