This is my last week of hard training before I begin my taper for the Buffalo Run 100. I was going to do the 24 hours in Moab, but decided that financially, Buffalo Run 100 is better for my crew and me. Spongebunny and J$ ran with me Saturday morning and afterward I took Spongebunny out to the Buffalo course.
He has agreed to be my pacer for miles 50-70. J$, as always, will pace for miles 75-100. Buffalo Run is on Antelope Island, which is the largest island in the Great Salt Lake. The race is on trails 98% of the time. Runners run almost all the way around the island, twice for 100 milers. The race starts and finishes at the same location, White Rock Bay. Spongebunny will meet me at White Rock Bay at about 11:00 p.m.
I pointed toward the mountains on the west side of the island. “That’s where we will be running. We’ll go up to that ridge and over to the beach and then back. There’s one aid station and we will go through it three times.”
He nodded his head, “okay.”
What else is he going to say?
We drove around the other side of the island so he could see the rest of the course.
“So what does a pacer do exactly?” he asked.
A pacer runs with the race participant. They are the rational mind if/when the runner becomes delirious or confused. They make sure the runner does not get lost. They make sure their runner eats and drinks when they should, even if the runner doesn’t “want” to do it. They take note if the runner is limping. They help tie shoes and massage legs. They provide entertainment and distraction from the cold and aches.
A pacer cannot “mule” or carry any of the runners stuff. They can hold it while the runner uses the bathroom or vomits on the side of the trail, but they cannot carry it while running.
What pace does the pacer run? This is something that you have to talk about before. As a pacer, you want to keep the runner moving as quickly as they can given the miles they have already done and the amount of miles they have in front of them. Sometimes the runner can just tell them, “We need to maintain a 9 minute pace to make my goal time.”
Sometimes it’s, “”Don’t let me go slower than a 15 minute mile.”
When things are interesting it could be, “I don’t care if I have to crawl, just get me across that finish line before the cut off.”
A pacer balances these two things: don’t let me give up and don’t let me die.