On Sunday, October 1st, 2023, five thousand runners gathered on the St. Charles, MO riverfront for the largest MO' Cowbell in the marathon's twelve-year history.
As previously reported, Warner Communications had the honor of helping to sponsor the event for the first time this year by providing critical communications for the staff and medical teams to use throughout the day.
With race entries representing at least thirty states (and some from as far away as France), each runner had a personal goal and reason for being there that day.
Our reason was the people, and our goal was to help keep them safer.
"At last count, we had thirty states represented and France." ~Stacey Ross, race organizer, in an interview with KMOV on the morning of the event.
The MO' Cowbell course starts and ends along the Missouri River, and can be used as a qualifier for other esteemed marathons such as the Boston Marathon, New York City Marathon, London Marathon, and Chicago Marathon.
The mostly-flat course spans about twelve linear miles, making reliable, instant communication a challenge for the event staff and medical teams.
Thousands of runners traversed the riverfront and city that morning, and moved through long stretches of farm fields, parks, and neighborhoods along their respective journeys of up to 26.2 miles. The MO' Cowbell staff and medical teams needed to be able to communicate quickly anywhere along the way in order to keep the event running smoothly and to ensure the safety of every participant and spectator.
Warner Communications worked on a solution closely with race director Amanda Schaub and Economic Development Council of St. Charles County vice president of communications and marketing and race organizer Stacey Ross.
After on-site testing of a more traditional land mobile radio system in advance of the race, Eric Mercer and team determined that it wasn't the right solution for this event. This course would call for a solid, wide-area coverage approach like Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PoC), which offers nationwide coverage by using available cellular towers and networks.
The heat of the day seemed to take its toll on many of the runners throughout the various races, creating several situations where medical attention was necessary.
In the past, critical push-to-talk communications haven't been able to cover the entire 12-mile course, leaving dead spots and slowing down response times. This year's unusual heat could have substantially overloaded emergency response teams without solid, instant communications in hand.
Using our Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PoC) devices along with GPS dispatch software running on a laptop at our tent in runners village, all event staff and medical teams successfully stayed connected throughout the day.
We call that a strong finish.
"We found the walkies extremely helpful this year as it was one of our hottest race days to date. The extended reach allowed us to be in constant communication with medical teams along the course that we have never been able to walkie in the past. This was invaluable as the temps rose and runners became more fatigued, needing quick medical attention." ~Amanda Schaub, Race Director of the MO' Cowbell Marathon
Visit the official MO' Cowbell Marathon website, and check out the article and video below to learn more about the event and its history.