Saturday, 29 September 2012

Running as a Pacer

As my regular readers will know I was to be a Race Pacer today at the 10km Orange Appeal Run in Hyde Park, London something I was quite looking forward to, even if a tad nervous about the job. 

Unbeknownst to me there were to be 4 other runners from my club, Gavin (40 mins), Ian (45 mins), Toby (50 mins), Me (55 mins) and Tina (60 mins) all of us well and truelly capable of running the time but sufficiently experienced enough to carry the pace we soon found ourselves gathering together chatting and laughing. As we did, more and more runners appeared from all directions in the park and soon the whole area became a buzz of excitement, nervousness and laughter. I was taken aback a bit as my races are normally very low key with just a few people but we were told to expect 450-500 eeekkkkkk my worst nightmare, a crowd!

We were soon found grouping together behind the start line, some music started  and we were warming up with dancing, clapping and running on the spot. I could see Gavin, Ian and Toby in front of me as like me they were holding long signs with our pace number. Fully warmed up Barbara "Babs" Windsor appeared shouted some jolly words and we were off.

My approach to being Pacer was to chat to people at the start to introduce myself and to make a bit of noise to make everyone aware that there were Pacers in the group. As we moved off I was aware of a cluster of people around me who were sticking to me but I chose to ignore them at first. It is very obvious that some runners (including me) get sucked into the excitement of a race at the start and whizz off too fast, I just stuck to my plan, stick to pace but communicate with the runners that they didn't need to stay with me all the time but keep in touch if they could. I went for effort based running and not a consistent pace as the course was as flat as a pancake in places with very shallow ascents so easy to plan out.

The weather was lovely today and I called to the runners or to anyone who could hear me that the race started at 8km, they needed to get into position and then really dig in at 9km for that was when they needed to get their act in gear and beat me......and there it happened, suddenly relaxed runners became focussed on the task. I shouting out the time, runners passing me, others staying on my tail, it was getting busy with some incredible sprints from people, one woman even beat her PB by 5 minutes......brilliant effort.

Then, as soon as it started, the race ended and around us people looked elated some approaching me and saying thank you others hugging there loved ones. Then a photo opportunity with Barbara Windsor and then a respite to allow us to melt away into the crowd and to home.

In all, a thoroughly enjoyable experience and also the opportunity to get out and test my legs out after last weeks ultra. I think I am OK to get the training going again for my October run.


  1. good stuff Jezza. Putting the fun into running!

  2. In my opinion it is not easy to run as a pace-maker but you did it and you arrived in perfect time: congrats.
    Windsor .... a very important family name.