She trained for weeks. She ran a 21 miler as her longest run and then began to taper. But this wasn’t her race. She wasn’t training for a marathon or an ultra. She was training to run the last 20 miles of a 100 mile ultra race with a friend. She ran in the middle of the night on trails through serious hills - a race that meant nothing to her but everything for her friend. This is the story of a friend of mine at work, who recently completed the last 20 miles of a 100 mile ultra race in the mountains with her friend.
In this week's Training Tuesday post, I wanted to chat about the idea of "running someone in" at the end of a race. It's been a topic of discussion with my mom and I. At one point , we talked about me running her in for the last 10k on her BQ attempt marathon last spring. It turned out that she was running a race the same day as me so that was out of the question. And to be honest, I’m not sure I was ready for that kind of pressure! I’m so happy that she found a wonderful pacer (and race buddy) with Meghan who ran stride for stride with her to help her reach her goal.
As I’m looking at a lofty goal for my Richmond Marathon in 5 weeks, I've been considering the idea of having someone run me in the last 6 miles. Since it’s a smaller race, I think it would be logistically feasible to have someone join me but that’s still up in the air. And of course, my pacer buddy would not cross the finish line or consume any of the race course snacks/water. Knowing that those last 6.2 miles will be the toughest, I think the company and moral support would be very welcome. I'm hopeful that it also might help give me some motivation and an emotional boost to finish strong!
When I was out running the other night, it occurred to me that this might be a gray area. Would my time still mean the same if I pulled myself across the finish line, solo? What did this mean for my experience at the Shamrock half marathon in March when I ran with a pacer for the first 10 miles? It really made me think. I mean Shalane has them for her major races, so they must be legit right? And a pacer doesn't physically aid you, they just simply run a pace for you to maintain with them. There are tons of benefits of having a pacer, as we've previously discussed. As far as I'm concerned it's totally legit.
What are your thoughts on pacers and support runners?