General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Marathon Pacers Rss Feed  
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2009-12-04 10:25 AM

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Master
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Almaden Valley, San Jose, California
Subject: Marathon Pacers
Those of you that have raced full marys - when they have pace runners, with signs or whatnot indicating the pace they'll hold, are there guidelines for how they do this?  Can you ask?  Are they just really strong runners that choose to hold that pace?  If someone's holding a 3:30 pace time sign, do they plan on holding solid 8 minute miles? negative splitting?  Or do they hold signs that say 8 minute miles and hold that?

DH is running in CIM Sunday, and he's wondering.


2009-12-04 10:31 AM
in reply to: #2542932

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Pro
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Subject: RE: Marathon Pacers
They are generally strong runners who can hold a certain pace for the 26.2

from my experience, the pacers hold a solid pace for the whole race... or, well, they should. sometimes they go out too fast, which really sucks.

usually you'll see signs like 4:00, 3:40, etc. with some balloons

good luck to DH !!!
2009-12-04 10:43 AM
in reply to: #2542954

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Master
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Almaden Valley, San Jose, California
Subject: RE: Marathon Pacers
trishie - 2009-12-04 8:31 AM They are generally strong runners who can hold a certain pace for the 26.2

from my experience, the pacers hold a solid pace for the whole race... or, well, they should. sometimes they go out too fast, which really sucks.

usually you'll see signs like 4:00, 3:40, etc. with some balloons

good luck to DH !!!


Thank you......I'll pass it on.  He wants to get to Boston to race with me!!  Cool

BTW, I think your IMCOZ time was pretty much exactly the same as my IMWI time - 14:12?   Nice race, I was cyber-tracking you!!!
2009-12-04 10:57 AM
in reply to: #2542932

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Melon Presser
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Subject: RE: Marathon Pacers
Pacers vary wildly from race to race and within the same race.

HOWEVER ... CIM bills itself as THE Boston Qualifier, and its pace groups, especially within the 3-4 hour marks, tend to be accurate and run an even pace throughout. Several of my friends have BQed doing this race and made good use of the pace groups.

I've done CIM myself, though I am SLOW ... yet the pace groups in the 5-6 hour range were very accurate, too!

Good luck to hubby!
2009-12-04 11:05 AM
in reply to: #2542932

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Extreme Veteran
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Subject: RE: Marathon Pacers
Each pacer will have their own strategy but most should maintain the goal pace through the race depending on course hills, winds down hills ect.. They should get you to mile 24-25 with 1-2 minutes in the bank. However my wife ran with a pacer who had a strategy to run harder for 1 mile then easy for a mile. This is horrible pacing if you ask me.

2009-12-04 11:30 AM
in reply to: #2542932

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Subject: RE: Marathon Pacers
The pacers will hold a fairly constant pace, however, there may be slight variations due to the course. For example, at CIM the (small) rolling hills are in the first half, so some pacers take it a little easier on this part, then pick it up a little in the second half. Are you going to the Expo? Many of the pacers are there and you can ask them about their strategy. Also, they usually have free bracelets at the Expo for various time goals with all the mile splits (for an even pace) listed.


2009-12-04 11:41 AM
in reply to: #2543114

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Master
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Almaden Valley, San Jose, California
Subject: RE: Marathon Pacers
Can't do the expo - have a dance for my daughter's sorority the night before.  He knows what he wants to hold - 8 minute miles.  He just tends to go out slower, and then pick it up.  He missed the cut by 4 minutes in March.  So maybe he'll start with the 3:45 or so group, and then catch and hang with the 3:30 group.  I dunno!!
2009-12-04 12:40 PM
in reply to: #2542932

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Subject: RE: Marathon Pacers
Ideally your pacer will know the course and be able to plan accordingly for the Twin Cites, there is climb from 21-23, and I know the pacer I was with this year planned on building up about 2 minutes of extra time to cover that stretch.  I left the group at mile 25 and finished 3 minutes ahead of the pace time.  If I were going for a BQ time.  I would start with the pace group that is going to get me closest to that time.  I would also hang on with the group until the last mile or so.  I would hate to burn out if I left 3 or 4 miles away and cramp up or run out of juice at the end. 
2009-12-04 12:55 PM
in reply to: #2543276

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Veteran
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Subject: RE: Marathon Pacers
I know (or know of) several of the CIM pacers.  I can say they are all accomplished runners, all familiar with the course, and are all running at a pace below what they are capable of.  So the pacers should be reasonably close to their pace time.

It's kind of last minute, but hubby can always ask the pacers at the start line too.

What pace is hubby shooting for?  I'm heading to the Expo this afternoon, and can try to ask any specific questions he has.

And to answer one of the questions I just realized you asked.... at the CIM, the pacers carry signs with their expected finish times (i.e. 3:30, 3:45, etc), not with the pace (8 min, etc).

Edited by Jonas Grumby 2009-12-04 12:58 PM
2009-12-04 1:15 PM
in reply to: #2542932

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Expert
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Subject: RE: Marathon Pacers
These are called "pace bunnies" here. They are supposed to run a very constant race & not vary, inspite of who is running with them etc. I am familiar with the half Mary & to pace it, you should have a time that is about 20 minutes slower than your usual time. For a full, I suspect, the bunny should run about 30 minutes slower.My observations, but not gospel...
2009-12-04 1:21 PM
in reply to: #2542932

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Member
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Subject: RE: Marathon Pacers
Good luck to your hubby, he should a good day for it! I had done CIM once before and the pacers are legendary. There is a famous photo of the 3:15 pacer standing under the finish line and the clock stating 3:14:59

They are certainly accomplished runners that can run well within the pace they are setting, for more info check out the CIM website

http://www.runcim.org/data/paceteam09.html

J


2009-12-04 7:37 PM
in reply to: #2543389

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Veteran
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Subject: RE: Marathon Pacers
I spoke with 3:50 pacer Rae Clark at the expo and asked him about his pace.  His theory, and I think what all the pacers will go by, is a constant level of exertion.  Thus his pace in the first part might be a few seconds per mile slower than the second part.  He stressed it would only be a few seconds difference at most, nothing drastic.
2009-12-04 8:22 PM
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Subject: RE: Marathon Pacers
In the only marathon I have run, I wondered the same thing about the pace bunnies (they even wore big bunny ears to identify themselves).  The 3:30 pace bunny told me that he was planning on running a consistent pace, and that he would actually only be running the first 1/2 of the marathon, at which point another pace bunny would take his place and run the second half.  It doesn't sound like this (2 pace bunnies splitting the distance) is common practice, but I thought that splitting the distance seemed like a good way to make sure the pace stayed consistent.
2009-12-04 8:52 PM
in reply to: #2542932

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Master
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Almaden Valley, San Jose, California
Subject: RE: Marathon Pacers
Thanks to all - BT comes through again!  Jeff's aiming for a 3:30, and I passed on all of the well-wishes.  Jonas, what time are you aiming for?  What will you be wearing? Happy to cheer for you, too!!

Edited by velcromom 2009-12-04 8:53 PM
2009-12-05 10:41 AM
in reply to: #2543961

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Subject: RE: Marathon Pacers
Haven't decided what to wear yet.  Black shorts, white shoes, white gloves, and orange Lake Tahoe visor... but I don't know what shirt yet.

I'm hoping somewhere around 4 hours.  I'm not to smart and am doing this totally on a whim.  Other than a recent half IM, I haven't done any training, and to top it off I caught a cold this week.  So I'm not going for any time whatsoever.  Won't be a PR.  I hope to finish, and ideally on Sunday.  Two more years til my next Boston Birthday, then I may be able to qualify.

I don't know the 3:30 pacer, but he certainly sounds very accomplished.  I would bet he's almost dead on 3:30.

I'm also doing CdA '10, so see you there too.

Edited by Jonas Grumby 2009-12-05 10:43 AM
2009-12-05 11:03 AM
in reply to: #2544263

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Champion
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Subject: RE: Marathon Pacers
Also, ask the pacer while waiting for the start, they hopefully have a good idea of the race.   They will know if the start congestion slows them for the first couple of miles, and when they will get back on pace, if they plan on a small negative split, how they are doing the water stops, if it's a big group.

But it's not a guarantee of your time, sometimes they are spot on, others a couple min slower. It depends on how the race unfolds. 


2009-12-05 12:34 PM
in reply to: #2542932

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Expert
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Subject: RE: Marathon Pacers
Pacers can help, but don't put all your faith in them. Last year at Rock n Roll SA, I sat in with the 3 hr guy and thought it seemed a bit hard but didn't think too much of it. At mile 14 or 15 (can't remember) we ran through and he told the group, " Great job! we should finish in 2:52 or better." about 3 miles later the group blew up, me included, and the death march ensued all the way to the finish.
2009-12-05 2:10 PM
in reply to: #2542932

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Elite
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Subject: RE: Marathon Pacers

I've never run with a pace group, but I've run with them around me.  Most of them run a steady effort, but there are afew that try to bank a lot of time.  I would ask at the expo or the start.

2009-12-05 4:04 PM
in reply to: #2542932

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Expert
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Subject: RE: Marathon Pacers
I did marathon pacer a couple of times and probably I am going to make it again next spring.
In general, if the marathon is flat, I do it in negative split, after agreeing with my partner(s). Usually 2 or 3 pacers for the same goal. Usually you should provide few 30mins faster finishing times and you should be invited by someone who knows you can be a good pacer. It is not only a matter of past results.
Unfortunately, not everybody has the nice plan of the negative split and I have seen many times pacer who tried to kill the runners behind, passing 2mins faster on the half split.
My advice is the following: if you think you are going to fight to be at 3h30 for example and you can be few secs below, then tactics is everything and you should SPEAK with the pacers before the race (at the expo the day before or in the morning before the start), asking which tactics they are going to put in place. You MUST go for a negative split (if the course is flat) and if they don't plan it, leave them going and follow only your GPS or a simple watch at the marks.
As a general rule, the higher is the pacer goal time, the worse is the pacer quality. For 4h00 goal, you have people who probably doesn't know at all negative split or whatever. They just go "around" that pace and most of the time, they slow down a lot in the last 2km because they are too fast.
At 3h00, you can expect good quality.

Finally, my suggestion is: go with your watch and forget about pacers.Wink
2009-12-06 6:04 PM
in reply to: #2542932

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Master
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Almaden Valley, San Jose, California
Subject: RE: Marathon Pacers
Awesome advice from everyone - thanks so much!  Despite a start temp of 31 degrees and a head wind, hubby finished with a gun time of 3:22....... 8 minutes to spare for Boston!!   Maybe, 9 - we haven't seen the chip time yet.   He started out with the 3:20 pacers, and hung in until about mile 21.....woohoo!   Took 13 minutes off his only other stand-alone mary.....8 months ago.

As for me, my throat is sore from cheering (okay, yelling!) at miles 6, 10, 13, 20 and 26.2!!!  Cool
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General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Marathon Pacers Rss Feed