Rock-n-Roll Marathon Mile 24 – KE5HDL Report

KE5HDL Curtis

KE5HDL Curtis

Hello all, this is Curtis Briley, KE5HDL.

I had volunteered to supply Radio Communications for the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon & ½ Marathon and to set-up reference clocks for runners to see the time as they ran the race.

I was initially assigned the 24 MILE marker time clock. Then I was assigned this additional email assignment of a second clock. And I figured it was no problem and accepted the additional assignment.  
KE5HDL Curtis using his cross-band radio

KE5HDL Curtis using his cross-band radio

I got tied up with other things on my mind and forgot to attend the Friday night pass out of  info and clocks. I got with Teri (our coordinator) the next day and got the clocks and other materials that were passed out.
I drove to my 24 Mile marker the next morning and turned off my engine.    I setup my car based cross-band repeat capable radio as a repeater and setup my HT (Handheld Transceiver) in simplex mode to use the cross-band repeater in my car.
When net control got to my check-in point, I checked in with my HT.   After a bit there seemed to be no activity on my HT and I thought nothing of it.
Next thing I knew, the start time was past and still no “Start the clock message.”  
I then found my car battery had run down (and the cross-band repeater did not work) in the first hour of use and I did not catch it until after we were supposed to start the clocks.

(My 2002 Toyota Prius hybrid does not use the 12v accessory battery for starting the engine and is designed with a very small battery. Starting the engine is a function of the INVERTER/MOTOR/GENERATOR and 277 VOLT DC HYBRID BATTERY PACK.  The volunteer activity had identified a weak battery that I would not have found had it not been used as in this situation. The odd ball battery with very small odd battery terminals could only be gotten at the Toyota dealer and cost me $123.00 to have it replaced! I hope it lasts another 7 years.)

With the assistance of Gordon Dial, K5SUZ, we synchronized the clocks with the start time.
I put one clock at the 24 Mile marker on the tripod that had been set out by the preset-up crew.     But when it came time to identify the location for the split of the 1/2 Marathon, there was no tripod setup anywhere in the vicinity, so I put the clock on top of the carrying case (of the clock) just after the runners of the 1/2 Marathon slit off and turned the corner and on the side of the road. At least the runners could see it (even though I was not sure where the clock should have been located, as this was a last minute change.) See email description of last minute location below. I felt that there should have been a painted area designating the exact spot and a tripod setup by the preset-up crew where they wanted the extra clock located. 
After putting the two clocks at their location, it was brought to my attention that there was very little I could do if someone had wanted to steal one of the clocks. It would be very hard to watch clocks in two different locations at the same time. Are we responsible for the security of the clocks once we put them out? I eventually turned in my clocks without incident, but the issue still remains.
After mile marker 24 where I was stationed, there was an RFID TAG reader. The course was updated this year to include 7 check points (and finish line) for purposes of anti-cheating and running time check points.
The times at each of the 7 check points and finish line for all runners will be able to be viewed at: when checking results of runners.
Note that the result for any runner’s report will have first check point = 5 Km, 2nd check point = 6.1 Mi, 3rd check point = 15 Km, 4th check point = Half, 5th check point = Turn, 6th check point = 20 Mile, 7th check point = 24 Mile, and finish line = chip time. That means we can not forget the start line which is not given, but is equivalent to start time = 0. I do not know if there was an actual sensor line at the start of the race. That accounts for the total of 8 sensor lines the runners eventually crossed to finish the 26.2 Mile Marathon. The ½ Marathon will be different but you can figure it out.
Cover blown open

Cover shown open with battery next to the case

The equipment used was from: which lists ROCK N ROLL MARATHON SAN ANTONIO as one of the races that uses their equipment and required each runner to attach an RFID TAG to one of their running shoes.
During the race, the wind had blown the cover of the equipment closed and had caused the equipment to malfunction and the alarm was going off.  
I put a call in to get somebody to come and silence the equipment. The supervisor arrived and reset the equipment. He said the main battery had gotten disconnected temporarily according to the error codes. He also said the system has a backup battery for short durations of main battery power loss. He said that the system had probably never missed a runner so it was still good with all runner’s data being transmitted to the main collection server file of runners’ times.
Lead runner (#21) as he crossed the RFID #7 check point

Lead runner (#21) as he crossed the RFID #7 check point

a shot of the actual RFID SENSOR as they were taking the equipment apart after the end of the race

a shot of the actual RFID SENSOR as they were taking the equipment apart after the end of the race

 If anyone wants to know more of this RFID technology, enter RFID in any search engine and read up on the technical articles of the RFID operation.
I am still curious about this technology but I did not see the actual RFID TAG on any runner’s shoes. Does anyone have an RFID TAG from this race?
{Note from webmaster – I noticed that runners had their chips attached to their shoe, usually a paper loop connected thru the laces on their shoe. – Lee N5NTG} 
Here are some of the results of the second annual Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon & ½ Marathon of November 15th, 2009.
In the men’s 26.2 MILE RACE, 29-year-old Gilbert Koech of Kenya won with a finish time of 2 hours, 14 minutes and 39 seconds claiming the men’s first place prize of $17,500.
In the women’s 26.2 MILE RACE, 24-year-old Tatiana Pushkareva of Russia won with a finish time of 2 hours, 30 minutes and 30 seconds claiming the women’s first place prize of $17,500.
The Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon & ½ Marathon had runners from all 50 states and 23 countries. There were 7,436 men and 12,585 women finishers of the 13.1 MILE (1/2) Marathon. There were 3,246 men and 2,567 women finishers of the 26.2 MILE Marathon. Of those runners that started, a total of 25,834 FINISHED! That does not include the handicap three-wheeler bike contestants that participated in their own competition.
The third annual Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon & ½ Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, November 14, 2010 so mark it on your calendars.
Until later,

Curtis Briley, KE5HDL


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