Since my post last week about joining the Ottawa Race Weekend Pace Team, I have been asked the same questions that I have sometimes asked myself prior to stepping up to the challenge. Given that it’s my first time, I am not qualified to answer all the questions I’ve been asked, but I think I can tackle these ones:
How did you hear about the opportunity?
Ages ago, I read a post on Running Mania mentioning that an Ottawa-area race was looking for Pacers. I emailed the contact person that was listed, but alas, they had filled all their spaces, so I was added to the mailing list for future events. The race understandably gives “first dibs” to past Pacers, so when an email came out to the larger population of interested runners this time around, they only had a few times left to fill. Fortunately there were times left that I thought I could handle.
So how can I get involved?
Some races have the application on their website, but I notice a lot of them don’t. If you can’t find any information on the website for the event of your choice, I would suggest emailing the race director – they should be able to put you in touch with the organizers of the Pace Team.
What’s the process?
In my case, I filled out an application form that asked questions about my racing experience, recent (last 12 months) results, choices of events and times I would like to pace, etc. Then they got back to me saying where they could use my talents – you don’t always get your first pick, but if you’re really flexible, chances are they will need you somewhere.
How do I know what time I can pace?
This is a great question. You need to choose a time that you know that you can hit, even on an off day – after all, people are counting on you! One generalization I heard was: take the best result you’ve had in the past year, and for a half marathon, add 15 minutes; for a marathon, add half an hour. As I say, that’s just a generalization, because 15 minutes or half an hour make a bigger difference for some people than others. All I did was take a look at the pace-per-kilometre required to hit the times that were open, asked myself, “what pace am I able to maintain in any condition short of it raining bubblegum or finding out that Medusa is volunteering at a random water station?” and went from there. I’ll let you know after the fact how that worked out for me!