With some reluctance, I’m going to promote a TV thing on this space. On July 4, I’m going to try to do something that I’ve never done before. Some fool has probably tried it elsewhere, though I don’t know of it.
Somehow, WXIA snagged the rights to the live coverage of the 2011 AJC Peachtree Road Race (we’ve been admonished to use its full name, or “the Peachtree.” As rights-holders, you buy into this sort of thing).
When the 10K starts at 7:30am, reporter Julie Wolfe will run the race, wired with a mic and IFB for live coverage. Wolfe ran the Alaska Marathon a couple of weeks ago. The woman can assuredly run a 10K and talk and interview runners and God knows what else, simultaneously.
She’ll have a small team of folks with her, including yours truly. We’ll be schlepping gear. Aside from a TV camera, the essential piece will be a 20 pound backpack.
As I understand it, the backpack contains musltiple cell-phone transmitters. They all fire up and create a super-signal, creating the capability to produce a decent TV picture. It’s many steps above the stop-action imagery of Skype, but a hair below the quality of a microwave or satellite or hard-wired live shot.
The fun part will be running the 10K while carrying the 20 lb. backpack. That’s my job (though I expect to lean heavily on my friend Bo, who will run with us and has agreed to help schlep gear. Team Wolfe will also include a WXIA / UGA intern named Kala).
As I write this, I’ve twice done five-mile runs while carrying a 17 lb. backpack. I spent Sunday walking with the strained gait of Walter Brennan. I’m about to strap on the backpack and do it again. I’m building muscle memory, I keep telling myself. (I did another Monday.)
Plus, it’ll be over in a week, one way or another. If you’re running the Peachtree or watching WXIA’s live coverage, feel free to heckle me. I’ll be the sweaty, wheezing, slow-moving guy running with a backpack, trying to keep pace with the TV-ready mic-toting woman half my age.
One last thing: I volunteered for this.