Update on Amateurs needed for Atlanta Marathon


This message is being sent to ARES members that have volunteered with past Atlanta Track Club events.  Please forward it to your local club so that new members have an opportunity to participate.


Thank you to those that have signed up to help with the marathons on 2/29 and 3/1.  We still need about 8 more volunteers for Saturday’s Olympics Team Trials and a WHOLE BUNCH more for Sunday’s traditional Publix Atlanta Marathon.  Please consider helping with one or both events -- while we would love to have you for both, we’d be happy to have your help with even just one of the marathons.  Sign up at Note that there are two shifts and the maximum is currently set to 30 each but the real maximum is 40 for Saturday and 60 for Sunday (why two different maximum?  The routes are different so there are different resource needs). If you have any trouble signing up, please email michael.l.gaertner@... directly.


ALSO -- we have been requested to provide two bicycling hams to follow the last male and last female Saturday at about 10~12 mph for the entire marathon and be in radio contact with Net Control.  If you have the equipment, bike, and conditioning please email michael.l.gaertner@... directly with “BIKE ESCORT” in the subject line.


Here are the full details of both events.


Thank you for passing this special request on!


Michael Gaertner KJ4GUY 404-769-4235

Elliott Fried KJ4CQJ




This is not your ordinary “marathon” request!  Please continue reading for a special opportunity to assist with the Olympics by signing up for the 2020 America’s Marathon Weekend Saturday February 29 - Sunday March 1.

What is it?

This year the Atlanta Track Club is hosting the 2020 Olympic Marathon Team Trials on Saturday 2/29.  These are elite runners competing for slots to compete at the Tokyo Olympics later in the summer representing the United States.   There will be live media and an estimated 100,000 spectators. The next day, the Atlanta Track Club is organizing the annual Publix Atlanta Marathon.  Yes, two marathons on back-to-back days! And to keep things interesting, the routes are different each day.

How can you help?

The Atlanta Track Club reached out to ARES and Ham Radio operators once again to assist with communicating runner, volunteer, and spectator safety messages.  We are stationed at Medical Tents, on SAG (Support And Gear) wagons, at the Aid Stations on the course, in Pace Cars, shadow key track club officials, and answer the “all call” phone line that all participants are instructed to call if they have medical needs.

One marathon taxes the Atlanta regional ham radio resources -- two marathons will require us to really step up our game.

We are asking you to reserve both days that weekend to help with this unique “long” deployment.  Sign up at but note that there are separate shifts for the two days.  If you will be helping with both days, please be sure to select both shifts.  If you can only help with one day, just select your available day (and pass this message on to someone who you think can help with the other day!).

Here are some facts about each event:

Olympic Trials:

  • Saturday, 2/29/2020

  • Operational period is 0700-1530

  • Men’s start at 12:03 and Women’s start at 12:13.  Because of the conditioning of the runners, both races will be over before 15:30.

  • Map can be found at  Each loop starts roughly in COP, makes its way up Peachtree, turns around near 17th St., comes back down Peachtree, through Old Fourth Ward and back to COP.  The final also loop dips down to the old Olympic Stadium (now Georgia State Football Stadium).

  • Three hours of live national media during the event

  • Approximately 700 competitors on and 100,000 spectators scattered throughout the course

  • Five aid stations, some of which are “personal fluid stations” containing a “pit” for each team so they can use their own preferred hydration formulas.  These stations will stretch for at least an entire city block; we will have multiple operators in each station operating on separate simplex nets to keep those massive aid stations humming with their own operational needs.

  • Because these are elite runners, there will only be three SAGs on the course

  • We will not be using motorcycles “inside the cones” for this event as we do with other events, but we will need some to be mobile troubleshooters to keep the net running reliably.

  • The Saturday event will also have a 5K and kids races inside COP, but we will not be supporting those.

Publix Atlanta Marathon:

  • Sunday 3/1/2020 (the next day!)

  • Same plan as last year

  • Operational period 0500-1400

  • First waves start around 0645 and include wheelchairs.  Event cut-off is about 5~6 hours.

  • Aside from being a couple of weeks earlier than usual, the plan is to keep it the same as last year:  COP to the Highlands, Piedmont Park, Georgia Tech, Atlanta University Center, Georgia State Football stadium, then back to COP

  • Approximately 15,000 participants (4,000 5K, 7~8,000 ½ Marathon, 2~3,000 Full Marathon)  This is up from previous years because of the Olympic Trials event the day before; more visitors from out of town will stick around for Sunday’s event

  • The usual:  SAGs, motorcycles, Aid Stations, Shadows, Pace Cars, etc.

Because of the complexity of putting both events on during one weekend, the track club has informed us that it is imperative to be “show ready” by the weekend before: that means having assignments posted earlier than usual, which means we’ll need commitments sooner than usual, too.  Please sign up early this year at so we can ensure a smooth planning and operational period!  By signing up in January you’ll be guaranteed to have your Swag Bag delivered to your position; delaying may mean you may need to pick it up at the track club after the event.  

Thank you for helping with this very unique and challenging experience.  We look forward to working with you!

Michael Gaertner KJ4GUY

Elliott Fried KJ4CQJ