As the official pacer for Ice Watch Run 2016, my task list for the night was simple: make sure my balloon does not pop or get blown away, maintain a pace of 7:30min/km through out 10km, and keep up the positive spirit, and watch out for other runners along the way. We were not assigned a timing target, and were advised by the organizers to take our time to regroup at the water station if necessary. Plus, there was no timing chip attached to the number bib too.
Very early in the race we were approached by a few runners who were aiming for a PB – an uncle said that he has been running in several events, so he really wanted to maintain the 7:30min/km pace with us. We tried our best to maintain at the assigned pace, but due to the size of the crowd my pacing group was breaking up. We had to pause to regroup. So we urged the pack that followed us who wanted to set a new PB to follow the 7:00min/km pacers instead.
We were the last group of pacer before the sweepers, so we were among the last ones. At this point, the crowd consisted of;
The “Newbies” – the first timers. They have no running strategy or stamina, just the pure will to run. You can recognize them by their irregular walk-run-sprint-sprint-burn out-walk pace , or
The “Funbies” – regular runners who just run for “fun”. You can recognize them by their ability to maintain a steady but slow pace, or
The “Confusies” – if you are not a Newbie or a Funbie yet you are still running at 7:30min/km, then I have no words for you. You fall into this category.
Based on the mix of runners as aforementioned, the vibe of the crowd was more relaxed. Most participants were just strolling and chatting. Clearly, no one were aiming for any PB anymore – they just want to finish the race. The uncle who first approached us earlier had speeded ahead. Most of the runners that tagged along with us were starting to grunt, saying that we were going way too fast although my watch was already approaching 7:45min/km. I sensed that the pack running with us was starting to feel demotivated. However, we had to keep up with the task given and forged ahead with the assigned pace. To give the crowd some boost, we cheered along the way, cracked a few silly jokes, and turned on some music (Clearly, we take our job as pacers very very very seriously!)
We arrived at the finishing line greeted by the impromptu cheer zone that was created by faster pacing groups who arrived earlier than us. They gave us high-fives and congratulatory pat on the back. This gave the runners the final push to sprint towards the finishing line. I was happy to see the crowd that I was pacing to finish strong with smiles on their faces, and that gave me the greatest satisfaction as a pacer for that night. I was grateful for the opportunity given, and I would love to pace again in the future.
Until next week,
The Weekend Runner