Power to the people!

Last year, I had an absolute blast pacing the National Marathon in DC, so when I got an email inviting me back, I was pretty psyched. Then I looked more closely at the times they were looking for people to staff, and saw that 4:00 was the slowest. Whoa there!

As the 4:15 pacer last year, I was the slowest pacer in the race. I had many, many people coming up to me to ask where to find the 4:30 pacer, and I had to tell them “sorry, I’m the last one.” In fact, as the 4:30 pacer at the 2009 Vermont City Marathon, people were disappointed that there weren’t more behind me! As marathoning grows more popular and many people add it to their bucket lists, the average race times grow slower… and the National Marathon is no exception.

While the National Marathon is one of the few marathons that has qualifying times for entry, its times are much slower than Boston or NYC. The half marathon qualifying time is 2:45 (12:35/mile pace) and the full marathon qualifying time is 5:15 (12:01/mile). In looking at the median finishing times for the marathon last year, they were 4:09 for the men and 4:33 for the women. That means if the last pacer was 4:00, you’d still be leaving out over half the field! So I responded to the pacing request with a request of my own: why not add some pacers that run a bit more reasonable pace? For my part, I’d be willing to do the 4:15 group again, especially given how much fun we had last year with it.

This morning, I got a reply: we’re adding a 4:15 group. Power to the people!

Now, if I’m going to successfully pace 9:43/mile for 26.2 miles, I probably have to start adding some cardio back into my workouts, huh? I knew there was a downside to this activism…


  1. Power to the Laura!

  2. Soooo….are you the 4:15 pacer?! I’m super-excited for this race, though I am nervous about the cut-off time. (It’s been to 5 hours this year.)

  3. I am indeed!!! Will look forward to perhaps meeting you at the race?

  4. Squeaky wheel! Those 4:15 folks will definitely appreciate you.

  5. definitely, i’ll be there!

  6. Good for you, Laura! Although I can see a reason or two for the race officials abandoning the “slower” pace groups, the simple fact is, it costs them very little to add a 4:15 and a 4:30 pacer (I presume that as a pacer, your entry fee is waived, yes?). If you look at that in terms of its ROI, I would think it would make money for the event.

    Have great time at the National!

  7. You are awesome!! Go you!

  8. Thanks for the link to the pacing report. That’s awesome. Maybe I’ll use pacing as my incentive to go into some larger marathons…

  9. Pressure’s on…best be ready!

  10. That’s awesome. Good for you!

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