The 24 lb. taskmaster: Behind 11Alive's Peachtree Coverage

4:58 PM, Jul 3, 2011   |    comments
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Team Wolfe: Julie Wolfe and Doug Richards. Not pictured: Bo Bancroft and Kayla Beck

ATLANTA -- 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 7:30 a.m., 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 24 pound backpack.

As I understand it, the backpack contains multiple 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 24 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 Kayla Beck).

I'm reluctant to promote this because of what could go wrong.  Three things come to mind:  Bad weather, technical failure and human failure.

To train, I've done several runs with a 17 lb. backpack.  Wednesday, Team Wolfe did a dress rehearsal, as shown in the accompanying video.

If you're running the Peachtree or watching WXIA's live coverage, feel free to heckle us.  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.  I should add that Julie has volunteered to help tote the backpack.  My fragile male ego makes me disinclined to allow it.  That, and the fact that she probably barely cracks a hundred pounds dripping wet. 

One last thing: I volunteered for this.


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