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.