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Wacky runner to broadcast himself live during Tokyo marathon

By Kyung Lah, CNN
  • Joseph Tame plans to stream his progress in the Tokyo marathon live on the internet
  • Tame will run with four iPhones and and iPad attached to his body in Sunday's race
  • The British runner will give updates to his followers on social networking site Twitter
  • The Tokyo resident hopes to raise money for a children's cancer charity based in the city

Tokyo, Japan (CNN) -- Marathons around the world are known for attracting a certain class of runners -- those who dress up in outlandish outfits for the entire grueling run.

But none have been outfitted quite like Joseph Tame, who will be running the Tokyo Marathon Sunday with four iPhones, an iPad and pink bunnies.

They are the accoutrements for an even wackier goal: to live stream his entire run with the iPhones and exchange tweets with followers on his progress.

One iPhone will point at his face, a second to the pavement ahead. Another will display his GPS to chart his location.

The fourth iPhone will allow him to communicate with supporters who will type in his verbal tweets, which will then be displayed on the iPad strapped to his back.

"When you watch a marathon on TV, it feels a little distant. We really want to immerse people in the experience, so they never forget the Tokyo Marathon 2011," says Tame, a British citizen who lives in Tokyo.

As a producer who works in social networking, the 33-year-old Tame says he's pushing the limits of the medium. "Citizen broadcasting," he challenges, "can we take live sports event coverage to the next level?"

When you watch a marathon on TV it feels a little distant. We really want to immerse people in the experience
--Joseph Tame
  • Long-Distance Running
  • Tokyo
  • Asia

Like many small ventures in citizen broadcasting, Tame isn't making a dime. His elaborate getup came out of his own pocket. Some of the money he's raised will go to the Tyler Foundation, a Tokyo-based children's cancer charity.

This entire endeavor, he says, is ultimately to have fun, which explains the bright pink plastic toy windmills on a helmet that has little relevance to his internet broadcast, except for a weather monitor taped to the back.

Tame has rounded up a number of his friends who will shepherd out his iPhone videos to Ustream and type out the tweets he calls out from the course. A roving pit crew will exchange dead phone batteries for new ones, if necessary.

Tyler hopes he won't have to switch out batteries, saying he hopes he's carrying enough for the entire marathon. He's also working on a solar battery charger that could charge during the run. However, as of two days before the marathon, he had not yet figured out how to strap it to his cumbersome outfit.

Which leads to the question, is he going to finish? "Am I going to finish?" Tame replies, aghast. "I have to finish! I have no choice."

"Are you sure?" I ask, noting that his harness and gear added four kilos (9 pounds). "With all this stuff?"

"Yeah, I'll finish," Tame said confidently.

He will be among 32,000 starters in Japan's most popular marathon, which drew just short of 300,000 entries.

Star attraction and world record holder Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia has withdrawn through injury but a top-class field will still battle for race honors, the leading finishers likely to cross the line several hours before the weighed down Tame.

But many will surely follow Tame's progress with just as much interest on social media Sunday.