I ran with David last week at Brighton Marathon - and agree he was absolutely fantastic!
Sadly I can't say the same about the 3:15 pacer from the blue start. I thought he had gone off a bit fast, then when I started working out the times I knew he had gone off way too fast and I decided to drop back. Whilst running with him I recorded mile 2 as 6:51 and mile 3 as 6:45, a good 20/25 second too fast for 3:15.
Having slowed a bit I still went through halfway 2:30 ahead of schedule and at that point he was out of sight. I've read on a couple of posts that at 17/18 miles he had nearly caught up the 3:00 pacer - not good!
Having gone off too fast I was slowing at the end and thought it was Dave when another 3:15 pacer came past me. I heard him shout "Ok guys, we're 25 seconds ahead of where we need to be at this point..."
I ended up finishing in 3:19, 5 minutes slower than the 3:14 I'd got in Brighton running with Dave. I very much doubt that I'd have been able to match or beat my Brighton time yesterday even with the even pacing so was very pleased with the 3:19.
Even better was that I got to have a chat with Dave at the end and thank him for Brighton, I couldn't have done it without him. I didn't get a chance last week he had gone by the time I'd recovered!!
Felt sorry for anyone trying to break 3:15 off the blue start though who was following the guy there. It was crazy, crazy pacing, way to fast. Its not confirmed but Dave said he thought he had dropped out and didn't even make it to the end.
How do the pacers keep the pace themselves, do they go by a gps watch or just a stop watch and then keep an eye out for the mile markers?
Pacers use stop watch/mile markers (primarily), and a GPS watch as a guide.
Always lots of confusion about pacers "catching" others - this happens at London due to pacers going from all 3 starts and crossing the start at very different times. Blue 3.15 pacer paced pretty evenly and came in 3 mins ahead of schedule. I was pacing 3.56 (2 sec ahead of schedule) but it was a pretty tricky day as seemed much more congested at that pace than I've experienced in past 5 years pacing!
Appreciate what you are saying about crossing the line at different points etc. However, coming in at just under 3:15 would equal about 4:36 pace. Looking up the blue 3:15's results (15536) the first 5k was in 24:41 (4:21 pace) and halfway was in 1:34:10 so way ahead at that point before dropping back a bit to finish 4 minutes up in 3:11:12. 35-40k was 4:43 pace 22 seconds a k slower than the first 5, so not that even?
Maybe others would have found this degree of positive split ok? I wasn't too bothered, I realised he was going fast so dropped back and ran my own race but it might have been harsh for some. In addition I'd got my 3:14 the week before in Brighton thanks to amazing Brighton & 'green start' Dave!
I paced sub 4:15 from the blue start on Sunday. I agree with what BR says about the congestion. It was much harder keeping pace for the 2nd half with the amount of people slowing down and walking in front of you.
I used my GPs watch predominantly, but as you can't always keep to the racing line, I used my stop watch and a sub 4:15 pace band as well when going through each mile marker, so I could gauge if my pace was okay. I was trying to average about 5 secs under my 9:43 target to account for not being able to run the racing line.
I paced 3:30 from the back of Green Pen 3 on Sunday. Again, have to agree with the points about congestion, but I found it much worse for the first 3 or 4 miles, we were about 40 seconds down but obviously you can't just speed up and pull those 40 secs back in the next mile. So it was a case of running 7.57/58s (instead of 8s) to slowly catch up.
Used the GPS but I know how unreliable they can be (and after losing the signal in the tunnels it throws the pace off for a few minutes afterwards) so had the stopwatch and pace band to guide me too. Came in at 3:29:22 so close enough for me!
With regards to one of the 3:15 pacers who dropped out, I know folk rely on the pacers but you need to remember that they're human too. I'm not sure if he was unwell or had done himself an injury, I wouldn't be surprised if it was the latter. I VERY nearly ended up on my backside on three separate occasions due to folk clipping heels etc. There were 43 of us so for just one to have difficulties is a pretty decent result I'd say.
Started with a huge group which whittled down to three hardy souls; Jill, Eileen and Romain. They all gradually dropped off the pace but I'd be keen to know how they finished up - so on the MASSIVE off-chance that they're reading this, please let me know!
I also picked up 'Colin' for a few miles towards the end who I've since heard from, which was nice...and he got a 7 minute PB too. I'd run the Milan Marathon the week before and managed to recover in time for pacing duties. I'd love to do it again (pace) but I've got a Boston Qualifier and their race is the Monday (20th) before London's Sunday (26th), so with the travelling, kids, cash etc I don't think I'd be able to stretch to both. Unless I was pacing the run/walk group.....!
I paced the sub 5 hour (4h 58m) group from the red start and can only agree with the difficulties throughout the day with congestion and keeping the level pace stated on our flags.
The other 'issue' is that unless you keep to the Blue Racing Line the course measures longer and this has to be factored in to your pacing plan. My GPS showed a finishing distance of just under 26.5 miles - so an additional 1/4 mile to factor in.
Some tremendous achievements from the runners who stayed on the sub 5 bus including one lady (Donna) who 'bagged' a £350 hand bag from her husband for a sub 5 finish.
Finally I have to agree with Bedders in terms of Pacers being human. At the end of the day a lot can happen over 26.2 miles so whilst we will always aim to deliver our time; injuries / illnesses can put paid to that. Hopefully, those runners that ran with the RW Pacing Team had a positive experience and felt that it helped them achieve their goals.
I for one had a great time on Sunday and hope to be back in 2015 to share London Marathon experiences with next years sub 5 runners.
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