Although real-time reporting is becoming the 'norm' for many marathons, they rely on the fact the races take place in metropolitan areas where internet connectivity is a given. Adventure Races, which tend to be in more remote locations, typically have the race officials hand-carry their leg results to the finish line where they are then entered into a spreadsheet to determine the results. Sometimes radios are used to relay the reports to the finish line. In any event, other than the order teams cross the finish line, little is known about the details until several days after the event.
For the last 5 years, the Ozark Greenways Adventure Race has used special software developed by Amateur Radio Operators (Hams) along with special Ham Radios modified to transmit data instead of voice communications. The software allows them to quickly and accurately log the contestants as they cross through each officials' checkpoint. This Ham Radio Data Link allows the data to be processed on other software, also Ham developed, to provide instantaneous results at HQ. Since the data is only entered one time, i.e., at the actual remote field location, there are no transcription errors.
Because of the nature of such a remote data linking operation, much effort has been put into the ability of the system to operate in the presence many different fault modes.
At the HQ location, the data is not only calculated in real time but the results are also uploaded to the off-site server to power this site. The development of this site is also done by Amateur Radio Operators. Race site connectivity to upload the data is via a satellite link which can become backlogged at times. Please be patient!
Finally, all of this effort is provided by the Amateur Radio Community on a free and volunteer basis. In addition to the satisfaction of public service, it also provides field experience and training, similar to that provided by the Ham community during tornadoes or other severe weather events which frequently occur in SW Missouri.
The Real Time Tracking software for the field sites and for the HQ operation was written by Jim Baremore, Amateur Radio Callsign K5QQ. The website design and the internet integration of the real time results, including the ability to provide text messaging, was done by Adam Fast, Amateur Radio Callsign KC0YLK. Either can be reached at HQ-at-greenwayrace.org
Reach the Race Director (Monty Montgomery) at (417) 869-0990 or RaceDirector-at- greenwayrace.org.