Earlier in 2013 New York Road Runners (NYRR), the organization responsible for putting on the New York City Marathon, went the route of putting together their own pace team for the marathon. They’d be calling on local runners with an established marathon history to lead the various pace groups (ranging from 3:00 – 5:30) to the finish line.
Earlier in the year I hadn’t planned on doing the NYCM and instead signed up for some other races in November, chief among them the JFK 50 Miler. When I thought about the opportunity to pace, it seemed like a great training run three weeks before my 50-miler. Best of all I’d be able to participate in the world’s largest marathon and soak in all the excitement first-hand.
I applied and begged my best to run the 3:30 pace group. After submitting my running CV, I was accepted and given exactly what I had wished — Team 3:30!
Benefits of pacing include free entry, a private heated tent with lovely pre-race refreshments, and a pacer singlet to wear during the race. Truth be told, the singlets weren’t anything to write home about but it was free and in fact I’ve worn it after the event.
Pacing the 3:30 group meant hovering right below a 8:00 pace per mile. This is a really nice sweet spot for me. It’s not too fast, not too slow. I hit the pace right in the first couple miles and was able to enjoy the entire race experience (unlike in 2011 when I raced it and saved a BQ with only 5 seconds to spare).
As you might have guessed, my splits were very even so I won’t bother posting those stats. I finished in 3:29:44 and got the opportunity to see some very thankful people cross the line with me. There was one girl in particular who crossed with me in 3:29; she was so happy and excited (though too tired to properly show it) to have run a PR and BQ time and my normally non-existent heart may have actually felt a little good for once.