Lots of things can go awry when Amateur Radio volunteers are supporting public service events, from technical and weather problems to lost or injured participants. The 2017 Garden of the Gods 10-mile and 10-kilometer races in Colorado was no exception. On Sunday, June 11, the Pikes Peak Amateur Radio Emergency Service (PPARES) deployed a dozen operators to support more than 1,400 runners in scenic Garden of the Gods Park just west of Colorado Springs. John Bloodgood, KD0SFY, Region 2, District 2 Emergency Coordinator and Public Information Officer said all was going well, with cooperative weather and only a slight delay due to traffic — nothing out of the ordinary.
“The real excitement came when a couple of the reporting positions called in to report that a bear was on the course,” Bloodgood said. “Bears are not uncommon in this area, and most of the locals aren’t too fazed by them; we know they will be out foraging this time of year.” But for runners unfamiliar with the lay of the land there, the sudden appearance of a bear can be alarming, he added.