Friday, July 4, 2008

The New Media

Podcasting is the new media. More clearly defined podcasting as a subset of the Internet is the newest medium for conveying information to the targeted masses. By ‘targeted’ masses I mean a specific listening audience that is intent on finding information about a topic. My podcast is about running more specific than that I key in on trail running and even more specific than that ultra distance trail running.

I don’t know what the numbers are and I’m sure some company somewhere has been paid to keep tabs on the numbers but a lot of people are into fitness, whether it is diets and keeping the pounds off any way they can or activity based fitness. Of those people are born the runners which possible number into the hundreds of millions. In my own corner of the world the Vancouver Sun Run, a local 10K, had 50,000 participants this year. Of those people there are marathoners or aspiring marathoners. I’ve been told that marathoners constitute ½ of 1% of the world’s population. If that is even remotely close that may seem like a minority in the world but that translates to 5 million people worldwide. Add to that the aspiring and the number grows even more. Ultra distance runners are even fewer than that. But the aspiring from that are probably bordering on similar numbers to sum to the total population. In other words everyone who has run a step to classify themselves a runner probably has considered or is at least intrigued by a marathon so the numbers of aspiring plus actual marathoners borders on the total population of runners. A similar argument can be debated for ultra marathoners. So you see creating a podcast about trail running and ultra marathoning may not be as obscure as one would think.

My nine year old recently asked me what an alter ego was. He had heard the expression on a TV show that he had been watching, I tried as best I could in terms that a nine year old would understand that as alter ego is like a secret life or something you do that is different from your everyday life. Without waxing on the philosophical, I said it was like being a superhero and an everyday guy like Clark Kent and Superman. I remember reading the short story The Secret Life of Walter Mitty a terrific story about a daydreamer who escapes into different worlds only to be brought back to reality by the circumstances that surround him. For that brief moment we are with him we are right there for those interludes those romantic escapes. And that in essence is my podcast.

My approach to podcasting is to be myself. I am one of you. I am you. I am a middle of the pack, working, mortgage paying, forty-something, father of three, happily married living in the suburbs and escaping to the trails every chance I get. My real escape is chasing my dream of running the ultra distances. The Walter Mitty in me escapes into a world some only daydream of and I take you with me. Whether you listen streaming online at your cubicle at work or you yourself are grinding out a workout of your own.

I think my appeal will be just that. As I get out there and record my podcast, it is for those of you who run or those of you who aspire will be able to relate or grab little tidbits of the experience of long run. My intent is to inspire and motivate, to educate and commiserate. You know its great to read the blogs of the ultra distance elite like Krupicka and Meltzer but they probably feel no pain. And if they do they don’t let on about it. My podcast is stream of consciousness, moment by moment as the run unfolds. It is for the most part unscripted but sometimes researched ahead of time.

To paraphrase Steve Runner of the Phedippidations Podcast, Podcasting is about the community. It’s about expanding our own horizons and in the process expanding those of others. For me it is making the impossible seem possible, there are no boundaries just hurdles. I hope you enjoy my podcast and discover your dreams in the process.

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