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#AskYourRaceDirector – Pacing

Q.1 I intend to personally pace a friend of mine in the next running event. I am not registered and I intend to run a part of the distance to encourage him. Nothing wrong in that I suppose?
Ans. Before going into the answer, some preface. There are rules for any sport and it is necessary for any sportsman to know the rules of the game they take part in. It is one thing to play Badminton in your apartment complex compound, with sketchy rules, with it being more of a social occasion. But it is another thing to be playing Badminton at a competitive level with serious stakes involved.Most of us take part in runs in the “playing Badminton in the society compound” frame of mind and often not aware of the rules and why they are made.
The rules of Road Running for Marathons arise from the rules of Track And Field Events which precede road running.
Rule 144 of the IAAF competition rules defines ‘giving assistance’ as
144. 2. Any athlete giving or receiving assistance from within the competition area during an event shall be warned…….
144.2 for the purpose of this Rule the following shall be considered assistance, and therefore not allowed:
(a ) pacing in races by persons not participating in the same race……
It is thus clear that ‘technically’ speaking non registered runners cannot pace registered runners in the event or face the risk of being disqualified.
The competition rules do recognise that it is “Only practical to be enforce with the Elite division of a road race”
The purpose of this rule is that all athletes must compete in the same set of circumstances and that no particular athlete must get assistance that is denied to the others. As such rule is a fair rule, but when it comes to recreational Road Running this rule cannot be applied very strictly in its implementation.
It has been held that someone receiving pacing assistance over and above what the organizers provide as a general rule to everyone is deemed to be unfair assistance.
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