The 2023 Houston Marathon (and Half Marathon) takes place Sunday, January 15th
The 2023 'We Are Houston' 5K Run takes place Saturday January 14th. (Click here for course map)
Amateur Radio Operators are used extensively to support this event in various roles, but, overall, the main aspect is that of enhancing the safety of participants of the event.
If you have the time and availability, please register to help with this event! We need all the help we can get, to better assist the event.
The full marathon is the Chevron Houston Marathon, and the half marathon is the Aramco Houston Half Marathon, and they are run concurrently.
Almost the initial 8 miles are run on the same course, after which a split occurs, with the half event heading back eastward towards the finish, while the full takes a southerly then westerly course that extends out to Memorial Dr and Chimney Rock before heading eastward to the finish line.
Lee Gaspard WA5QXE and Frank Robichaux N5EJX are the co-coordinators of Amateur Radio Operator support for this event.
Operators of all experience levels are encouraged to help.
Documentation will be available to explain how we support this event.
- be capable of 2 meter and 70 centimeter (440MHz) band operation
If you are going to work the 'We Are Houston' 5K Run event, you should expect to:
- be available from 5AM at Minute Maid Park parking lot B
- be available up to 10AM.
- Only Hand-Held Transceivers are needed!
If you are going to work the Houston Marathon event, you should expect to:
- Be available from around 4:30AM for packet pickup at a Minute Maid Park parking lot B
- Ideally, be available until approximately 2pm at the latest, with operators being released progressively as the last participant makes their way around the course
- Portable (mobile transceiver that is able to be temporarily used in a vehicle) or Handheld equipment.
- Sector Captain and certain Race Official Shadows require Amateur radio equipment that includes 2 meter and 70 centimeter mobile radio, antennas capable of being mounted on non-magnetic vehicle bodies, and dual-band hand-held portables.
- Note: hand-held equipment used in a vehicle can benefit from use of a mag-mount external antenna. Race vehicles may require antennas capable of being mounted on non-magnetic vehicle bodies.
If you can help, please complete the 'Volunteer Information' section. Please review the following information before proceeding with your registration to ensure success:
We rely on email for communication. Email will be sent to you with sender name of: 'Houston Marathon Ham Coordinators' and from email address of firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ensure your email system is not blocking or sending these emails to junk mail.
The registration process will result in an email being sent which *must* be replied to before further information will be sent. The email is typically sent within 10 minutes of registration. Please check your junk mail folders if you do not see it. Check item (9) below for additional details.
How to Register to help:
On this web page, on the right-hand-side (towards the top), is the registration sign-up panel. Please:
- Check one or both of the Houston Marathon and/or the 'We Are Houston' 5K Run options.
- Check all of the assignments options that you are interested in volunteering for (even if you've done them in the past). If you have worked a particular assignment and want to do it again, please note that preference and assignment in the "Other Information" box.
- If you need to finish earlier rather than later, please check the 'early release' option.
- If you are unable to help until later in the day, please check the 'late start' option, and indicate what time you will be available from in the 'Other Information' text area.
- Previous volunteers: If there is a specific assignment (eg: Aid Station 5) you would like, please mention this in the 'Other Information'. The coordinators will try to accommodate your request.
- New volunteers: 'course monitor' is a good starting point, if you are not sure what you'd like to do.
- Click 'Register'
- Wait for the confirmation dialog.
- Within 10 minutes, you should receive the registration confirmation email. The sender name will be 'Houston Marathon Ham Coordinators' and the email address of the sender will be email@example.com. Please ensure this email address or domain is not blocked or going to your junk mail folder.
- Reply to the email. This is to let the system know that you are receiving email, and that it's ok to send additional email messages.
- Further instructions will be emailed *after* your reply is received and processed.
- Apologies in advance: To fully register, you must sign up at both sites:
- the the official Houston Marathon Volunteer's web site (to meet their organizational and legal requirements),
- this site (HMHAMS.ORG - which captures additional, amateur radio specific details).
For those that have registered at the Houston Marathon Volunteer's web site previously:
You might be able to save yourself some time! After using the link below, go directly to the email address input field, and enter the same email address you used previously, then click on the phone number input field. If the email address is known by the system, it will indicate this, and offer to allow you to re-use the same account for this year, by emailing you a link. Allow it to send you the link. The link they email you will allow you to re-use the email address and will pre-populate your details from previous use, and allow you to then indicate which assignment you are volunteering for, and complete the process.
Use the following link to access the Marathon Volunteer Registration Form:
There are a number of assignment types that need to be filled. Here is a brief description for each.
Course Monitors may be located anywhere, and their function is to watch for participants that may be in need of assistance and monitor and report other race concerns for the safety of all. This is a generic type, letting coordinators know you're available to help in whatever way you can.
Sector Captain Shadow
A volunteer for this position will be assigned to follow Sector Captain(s) and provide communication facilitation on Amateur Radio and Commercial Radios and act as a personal assistant to the race official for the duration of the event. Assignments may be near the George R. Brown Convention Center area or along defined segments on the racecourse. Some are in race official vehicles that cover the entire course and some may even use bicycles. Required Amateur radio equipment includes 2 meter and 70 centimeter mobile radio, antennas capable of being mounted on non-magnetic vehicle bodies, and dual-band hand-held.You will be asked to accompany a particular
Shadow an Official
You will be asked to accompany a particular official throughout the day until they release you. Typically this is a job for people that have good mobility as officials are often on foot, and moving from place to place. Some officials however are very focused on certain areas such as start line or finish line.
Aid Station / SAG Stop
Aid stations on the course typically collect periodic medical services and SAG queue information and report these to the Unified Command Center (UCC) to assist medical aid management and transportation (SAG or Ambulance) resources for needy participants.
Water Station related traffic may include things such as the need for cups, and possibly status of supplies being reported.
Check this (in addition to other role checkboxes) if you are asking that you be released early. (or at least, be given an assignment with an expectation of being released earlier rather than later).
Check this (in addition to other role checkboxes) if you will not be able to be available at the very start of the day, but will be available later, possibly to relieve another operator.
You'll be assigned a vehicle to occupy within the group of vehicles that precede the first runners. Typically this involves talking with other lead pack vehicles, sharing current speed information, so that vehicles maintain the pace of the lead participants, and providing spotting and navigation assistance with the vehicle driver.
Operators will not be assigned to SAG vehicles in 2023 unless an emergency incident warrants such assignments.
Following the last participant of the event can be a drawn out thing, but, it's important to know where they are so that road openings can happen as soon as possible. In recent years, the Turtles have been bicyclists who follow the last race participants.
Pre-event communication will primarily be via email, so
- be careful to supply the correct email address
- email will come from firstname.lastname@example.org, with a sender name of 'Houston Marathon Ham Coordinators'
- make sure it is not treated as spam or unrecognized/unauthorized
- complete your registration by replying to the welcome email, including in the reply all of the email body you received. Receipt of your email will allow the system to complete the email verification, which will complete your registration with the hmhams site.
- Note: until you complete email verification, you will not receive additional information via email, so this is rather important!
- after email verification is complete, you will be 'caught up' with messages that were created prior to your email verification, and thereafter, you'll be 'kept up' to date as new messages are sent. Don't worry though, there typically are not a large number of messages.
Your assistance is very much appreciated!