As you know, I love the marathon. Not only is it a huge achievement, but it’s an experience unlike any other. The sheer will of everyone running to get to the finish line creates this amazing atmosphere which I just keep going back for again and again.
However, there is no ‘one’ way to run a marathon, and I’ve had the privilege over the past two years of experiencing the marathon from a number of different sides. I’ve run for PBs, I’ve run at the back of the pack. I’ve volunteered and I’ve stood on the sideline to cheer. I’ve run for a Guinness World Record, and I’ve run in costume just because I can! I’ve helped friends get to the finish line, I’ve run a wine marathon with friends – all of these have been completely different ways of experiencing the marathon.
One thing I haven’t done yet is officially pace a marathon. Big races will often provide a team of runners who will run a certain time, eg. 3:30, 4:15 or any other round number, to help other runners achieve their goals. I’ve often used pacers for periods of time during my marathons to judge how I’m going against the clock. It’s a difficult job to do because you have to be metronomic with your splits and execute on your marathon strategy exactly, because for a pacer, the race is not about them. It’s about all the people who run with them, whether from 0-42.2km or just for a part thereof.
At Brighton Marathon in April, I’m super excited to announce that I will be one of the pacers helping the runners achieve their goals! The marathon put out a call for pacers in January and I applied in the hope of experiencing yet another side of the marathon. My application was accepted, and on April 15 I will officially be pacing the 4-hour group on behalf of 2XU!
I know that this will be a challenge in itself but I can’t wait to give pacing a try. I have started to put my strategy together with the help of some more experienced pacers and I’m confident that I will get to the finish line in 3:59:XX. If you’re running at Brighton, come jump on my pace-bus – it’s going to be a blast!
Have you ever paced a race or run with a pacer? What was your experience?