I had my marathon pace team run this morning. Most of the two people who read this probably already know I pace the 5:00 group (or 4:55 as it was changed to this year). While I am a far cry from being speedy, I am a little quicker than this and I have to work to get this pace just right. It’s a little unnatural for me, and some practice is good. Last year’s practice pace run was just miserable: it was pouring, 45 degrees, and after doing 8 miles at marathon pace, my small group mostly wanted to do a lot of walking, which given the weather I just couldn’t take. I had one taker on running back, but it was a tough, cold day of 22 miles. So yeah, I was kinda dreading today.
It wasn’t so bad. We were told in advance we were only obligated to do the first 8 miles of a 22 mile run at our assigned paces and then could do what we pleased: leave the group, continue on with them, run ahead, etc. I opted to run 8 then call it quits. I met Mark at 500 to get in 12 miles before meeting the pace group, so I would end the morning with 20. I had 4 people who wanted to run my pace, plus friends Stephanie and Teresa who were really just being nice and joining me for a couple miles. After Stephanie and Teresa turned off, I had only two runners stick with me for the whole pacing run. They were very nice and it really was not bad, but I admit I was a little discouraged that only 2 people did the pace run. I’m not sure if the other pacers have this experience or not since they are always done and gone by the time I finish with my group.
We always seem to have a pretty good turn out on marathon day. I’m sure this year won’t be different. I would love it if the marathon got rid of the half and just ran it at another time of the year. I am sure this would be expensive and I believe a lot more people enter the half these days, so I’m sure it will never happen. But I kinda feel a marathon is a marathon, and every year I’ve done this we have 3/4 of our group turn off at the half marathon turn off and have just a couple people remain to finish the whole thing.
Hopefully this year will still be a rewarding experience. It’s great to watch folks finish their first marathon, and do something they never thought they could do.