Get to know your 2020 pacing group
You’re registered. You’re training. You have a goal time in mind. This is your first half marathon. You want to PR. You want to beat last year’s time. Whatever your race day goals, the Twenty-Six Two Marathon Club pacing group will guide you. Meet your 2020 3M Half Marathon pace team, learn where to find them on race day, and read a few dos and don’ts of running with your 2020 pacing group.
Find your 2020 pacing group:
Look for the Twenty-Six Two pacing group in the starting corrals holding pace signs. Those signs correspond to the paces designated by signs in the corrals. There will be two pacers per each pace group (finish times of 1:30, 1:35, 1:40, 1:45, 1:50, 1:55, 2:00, 2:05, 2:10, 2:15, 2:20, 2:25, 2:30). The pacers will also wear matching Under Armour running outfits that say “PACER” or otherwise designated them as official 3M Half Marathon pacers.
Race day dos:
- DO ask questions before the start about your pacing group’s race plan. Most will run slightly slower at first, and then pick up speed in the middle miles of the race. However, each pace group is slightly different, so make sure to ask any questions before the race begins.
- DO drink at water stations along the way if you normally take water or sports drink during the race. The pacing group will slow down slightly to allow runners to catch up after water stops.
- DO ask questions or introduce yourself during the race if you are inclined. The pacers are all accustomed to racing at paces faster than what they are pacing, so they should be able to answer your questions.
- DO ask what your splits should be at each mile marker, and compare the pacers’ times with your watch or GPS device. You want to make sure that you are “in sync” with the pacers’ official times.
- DO relax and let the pacing group guide you! They are trained to finish at (or slightly faster than) their designated finish times.
Race day don’ts:
- DON’T struggle to stay right next to or behind the pacers, especially at the beginning when it is crowded. As long as you are near them along the way, you will have plenty of time to stick with them after a few miles.
- DON’T try to start out with a pacing group that is significantly faster than you are accustomed to running. Find the pace group that is right for you, and enjoy the race as the pacers lead you to the finish line.
- DON’T forget that the pacing group is targeting a finish that corresponds to their own chip time, not the official “gun time.” If your pace group crosses the start line several minutes after the race begins, the pacers will be following their own chip time, not the “clock” time at the finish. Make sure to ask along the way what the pacers’ time is, and compare it to your own time. If you are unsure whether you are “ahead of” or “behind” the pacers’ time, ask them! They will answer your questions.
Twenty-Six Two Marathon Club (TST) is an Austin-based nonprofit group that provides low-cost training to men and women marathoners and half marathoners throughout the year. Since 2005, TST has trained hundreds of runners for races in Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, New York, San Antonio, and many other cities (and countries). TST’s Pace Team provides pacers for races year-round and is comprised of club members who have run multiple marathons and half-marathons.