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The CLIF Bar Pace Team is a group of experienced runners who help set the pace for runners at marathons and ½ marathons. Part coach, part friend, and part mentor (at least for several hours!), this is an experienced long distance runner who sets a steady pace while offering encouragement and advice. The Pace Team Leader is capable of finishing the event anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes faster, so they can devote their extra energy to assisting their team. The leaders also have run multiple marathons and can share their expertise with you.
You can register online. You can also stop by the Pace Team booth at the race expo to meet your Pace Leader, ask questions, and pick up a Pace Band. You can even just meet up with the group before the race in the starting area – just look for our signs and balloons!
The Pace Team leaders will be located on the right side of the street in the starting area. The faster groups are toward the front, the not-so-fast groups toward the back. Look for the pace group times listed on the signs and the balloons the leaders hold and line up with the one you want. Feel free to introduce yourself!
You should have an idea of your ability before starting an event as challenging as a Marathon or ½ Marathon. However, if this is your first marathon, but you have done a ½ marathon and trained well, double your time and add 20 minutes. If you have not done a ½ marathon, you can still determine what pace is best for you based upon your long training runs. Choose a pace that is conservative. If it is too slow after 3-4 miles you can always pick it up – but if you go too fast from the beginning you might not have a very enjoyable experience.
Your Pace Team leader will carry a stick with balloons the entire race – yes, the ENTIRE race! Any time you want to know where they are, just look for the balloons!
Typically the leaders maintain a steady pace through the water stops, although there are times where the water stops are extremely crowded and they are forced to slow a bit. Please focus on getting your fluids and then working your way back to the balloons. Remember, the leader might have gotten slowed and may end up behind you! If you wish to walk at the aid stations, walk briskly and then very gradually catch up to your group. Do not sprint to catch up as this uses energy inefficiently.
Sure! In the end, we are all following the same race clock, so if you do the “run-walk” and your overall goal aligns with one of our Pace Groups, you should still be at every mile marker at the same time. You will be a little quicker when you are running, but the group will catch you as you walk.
Absolutely not! The group is there for your benefit, but if you are having a good day and want to pick it up, or are not having a good day and need to slow, please do so. This is still your race – we are just there to help!
Sometimes we all gotta go! Afterward, gradually catch up to your group. Remember your Pace Band will show you when the group went through the next mile marker, so you will have at least an idea of how far behind you are and you can steadily work your way back on pace.
For the most part the leader will run steady, although in cases of extreme hills they will go on effort. And if they lose time they will work their way back on pace gradually, maybe taking a number of miles to do so. Remember, they have done this before, so you can trust them! The leaders focus on finishing less than 2 minutes under the goal time – never over.
If a pacing service is offered to everyone in the event it is not illegal (similar to having hired "rabbits" at other events). Pacing is illegal when someone assists a runner or other runners as a special service to just those runners.
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