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Of Pacing Teams

We are often asked how we put together pacing teams for the several events where we do them. So here is a rather detailed note on the efforts that goes into each such team.
– We handpick experienced runners for the pacing effort…we do not post on social media and take anyone who applies. We often ask around our network of running groups / trainers and select.
– Based on our years of experience putting together pacing teams, we also know runners who come with an established track record of pacing in the past.
If we have a fresher, then we put two pacers in that time slot…one more experienced with a track record than the other.
– Pacers so shortlisted are then asked to submit their timing for the distance from previous best timings in recent past. Our backend team goes and verifies the timings claimed on the relevant website. Thus, the pacers are PROVEN for their capabilities.
– We collect their runner’s bio and update it on the event website. This brings out the running experience of each of the pacers.
– We provide a cushion of 5 minutes for faster buses and 10 minutes for slower buses so that the pacers are running within their aerobic zone of comfort.
– We always have more applicants than slots available. In fact, in most of our events, we have regular pacers who pre-book their favourite pacing slots with us. For ADHM, Satara, DRHM and event SCMM of 2017 we have runners who have already spoken to us. And in each of these events, runners pay for their bibs. A policy that we strongly endorse.
– After the slots are filled up, we write customised pacers manual for the event. We create a WhatsApp group as well as an email thread for all the pacers to go through and debate the points in the manual.
– We encourage pacers to develop their own pacing chart and share it with us so that we can understand their plan.
– We create a pacers/ runners FB group so that runners can interact with the pacers and share notes before the actual run.
– Before the run, we arrange for a meeting of the pacers with us so that the pacers manual, points and another such stuff is personally shared.
– We make the pacers kit, pennants etc and arrange for it to be given to the pacers in these personal briefing meet.
– We arrange for a meeting, one day before the race where the pacers are introduced to the runners.
– After the run, we do a post-performance review of the pacers and share it with them. All splits are analysed and debated. Pacers who were casual in their approach are dropped for ensuing events.
– We do all this for FREE. We strongly believe that pacing as a feature must grow and be well managed so that runners have the benefit of accomplishing their target timings.
– In our experience, we found that many runners were not choosing their pacing bus appropriately based on their levels of training. We developed the ‘Pacing Calculator’ in order to help runners chose the correct bus.

Side note: This pic of my finishers certificate shows me after pacing SCMM 2011, There were balloons tied to a plastic pole and it was strapped to my chest with cotton ropes. Quite rudimentary, I may add.

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