At the finish line – sub 55 mins for 10 k
On Sunday, i was a pacer for the Ealing Eagles 10k race. It was the very first time I have been a pacer in a race, My running club asked for volunteer pacers, I thought to myself well I want to be a part of the race and I can definitely run a 55 minute 10k, how hard can it be?
It was only about a week before the race that I realised what I had let myself in for! Pacers are helping other runners so should clearly be able to run an even pace. I am not generally someone who does run an even pace, I almost always go off too fast (even in half marathons- marathons) slow down in the middle and run much faster at the end. Therefore, i realised this was going to be a challenge. I was far more nervous about pacing the 10k than I had been before my recent marathon!
Thankfully, I was not alone and was paired up with another club runner who was also pacing 55 minutes. We agreed before the race started that we would run side by side so as not to confuse the runners following us. We were equipped with a number of balloons so that we were always visible. Unfortunately, after about 5k the other runner and I were completely tangled together and attached which meant that we had to run an even pace or at least a pretty much identical pace to one another. My general experience of pacing was that it was an enjoyable experience. It was fun to run at a pace which was sufficiently slow which meant that the other runner and I could chat about the experience and enjoy it together, it was also lovely to be a part of the race and not chasing for a PB.
However, it was not an easy task. It was quite difficult psychologically to run a race at a pace that was quite substantially slower than the pace you would run the race at. It was also not a natural pace for either me or my fellow pacer so we keep finding that as soon as we got comfortable with a pace we were actually going too fast and had to slow down. However, we did a pretty good job at staying at our target pace (aided by our Garmins and my runner’s world paceband), that is until the last km when we mysteriusly ended up within sight of the finish line at about 51 minutes, at which point we slowed down as much as we could and finally crossed the line at 53 minutes 39 seconds. At least we were sub 53 and a few runners commented that they had got a quicker PB than they had hoped for by following us. Would I do it again? Yes, definitely, but preferably as a sub 50 pacer for a 10k!