125th Boston Marathon After Action

Well, it took a year and half, and it wasn't in April on Patriots' Day but the Boston Marathon is finally back in person, after last year's "virtual" Marathon due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In my 3rd year of service to the Marathon, I was stationed at the same Medical tent as 2019, Medical Tent 6. To be a medical tent volunteer at this tent, you had to be vaccinated against COVID-19, no exceptions. Hydration stations also checked in at the tent and were tested for COVID if they weren't vaccinated. There was also no meetup at Babson College or Newton North High School this year. Although, our convoy of hams including the Course Coordinator, Jim Palmer, KB1KQW, enlisted me to help do some last minute preparations at Babson involving getting jackets ready.

Although, it was in a different location than last year and that caused me some headache as it appeared to be a last minute change that wasn't properly communicated, leading to me searching and calling on my net control channel to find it. Turns out it was moved down the road a bit next to Wellesley College.

Which was fun because it was just a bit down the road from the famous Wellesley "Scream Tunnel." What wasn't fun was the porta-potties weren't close to the station, which required a small hike, maybe a quarter of a mile, from the medical tent to the porta-potties which was inconvenient for me and everyone else at the tent. For me, it was because I would be out of earshot of the station staff if something needed to be relayed back or forth. And at one point, the doctor assigned had gone to use the bathroom when our first patient of the day showed up and her presence was required.

Other issues cropped up, such as missing supplies which required to requisition some supplies from another medical tent which had supplies to spare after talking with the ham at the next tent down. 

Another issue was of my own doing, that being, I kept my radio attached to my hip all day instead of getting it off my hip and up in the air for better signal coverage. There were times were I didn't hit the repeater well and that probably could have been solved by getting the radio off my hip.

Also, there was issues with the sweep buses at some points as there was one sitting at my station for a quite a while but that was mostly due to only having one runner who dropped out on board and apparently the sweep bus will only move when there's a certain number. Eventually, the station captain had me advocate on her behalf and the bus finally took off.

But not all was bad, I helped to relay a call from our Division Supervisor to the Team Lead about a down runner a tenth of a mile from our station. Although, it did require some more transmissions to find out which part of the course they were on.

But it felt great to relay that message, as it shows that we're still relevant in providing public service to our partners.

After my shift was done at my tent which was around 3:00pm, I made my way over to the Course Net Control Operations Center is and helped out there, it was my first time visiting Course NCOC in the years I've volunteered and it was great to see what was going on the other end of the radio behind the scenes.

All in all, I had a good time, despite the differences this year due to the pandemic and I'm looking forward to going back in six months when the 126th Boston Marathon happens on it's regularly scheduled day. But now, it's time to prepare for NEAR-Fest and the Head of the Charles Regatta!


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