One of our local runners approached me a few months ago, knowing I was a bit of a radio geek asking for advice on which walkie talkies to use for his upcoming trail race. For the unitiated a trail race is a bit like an old fashioned cross country but it generally goes over some serious terrain and can be quite long. Jon’s event was from Bassenthwaite to St Bees, totaling 35 miles. Not to be sniffed at. I’d suggested at the time that walkie talkes might not do it and as a member of the local Raynet group I offered our services.
Well the event was yesterday and after the runners set off at 8am I was manning checkpoint 1, some 20 miles into the race. Only the first couple of people through the check point looked ‘sprightly’ the rest took on more knackered looks as they went through. Eventually some RAF guys came through with packs on and the stragglers shuffled on. What’s this got to do with Ham Radio?
Well. the Cumbria Raynet group support a few of these types of events and I think our services were appreciated. The organiser thanked us and said he didn’t realise how complicated the whole thing was to maintain communications in a mountainous place. Perhaps it was the relief or local beer (Ennerdale Blonde) that helped his cheery outlook. Perhaps next year I’ll run it…with an APRS tracker! (It’ll need to be a very lightweight one though)