100 mile pacers

Pacers don't race with a bib number or timing chip. They don't get a finisher's medal or buckle. They don't get "credit" for running; no record they were ever there. They volunteer to be a racing friend's pace-setter. Remember that, if you have someone volunteer to pace you, appreciate it. Some people consider that having a pacer is cheating as not everyone would have them, it certainly is an advantage, but if they're allowed and you can find a willing volunteer then I'd use them every time. In fact I think at the tough end of ultras pacers are more valuble than crew.

General Advice for Pacers

1) Bring no problems. Make sure you are self-sufficient in everything, food, drinks, electrolytes etc and bring spares and supplies for your runner.

2) Know where you're going. Assuming navigation responsibilities for your runner is a big burden lifted from them.

3) Establish what pace they want to be moving at. In daylight be alongside or in front of them and pull them along at that pace. At night be behind them and chivvy them along if necessary but add your light to theirs when possible and also if possible carry a handheld torch in addition to shine the way for them.

4) Speed them through aid stations. Take bottles/packs off them to fill and jog off ahead of them to start the process before they get there. Establish what they want and get that organised with the aid station as quickly as possible, preferably without your runner needing to stop, or stop for long. Have them just keep walking and you'll catch them up. Put nibbles in plastic cups and eat whilst walking rather than stand at an aid station table grazing. Aid Stations eat time and a properly organised pacer can easily save a runner 15, 20, 30 minutes or more at a stroke just at aid stations.

Let your pacer know what's expected

Make sure they know what pace you want to be going at and have them “pull” you along at that pace. If possible let them know your plan, what time you want to be at the next checkpoint, the finish or whatever. Even a general, don't let me drop below 15:00 pace for example is good. At the back end of these long ultras speeds can dwindle alarmingly and having a pacer to help you focus can be a great time saver. Not to mention pleasant company, a navigation aid and general supporter. Especially at the back end of a long ultra a pacer is more important than crew, for the last 10 or 20 miles you're generally in a place where hopefully you're going to finish now, a crew can slow you down, a pacer will get you home quicker, possibly by a factor that you can count in hours.


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