My first race as a pacer – Eastleigh 10k

Lining up with other pacers (and Iwan Thomas) at Eastleigh 10k

I had been hoping that I could go for a PB at Eastleigh 10k. It’s renowned for being a fast flat 10k (and is where I set my last PB). I’ve been fighting a chest infection since February, so I had to let go of that dream. Fortunately, I’ve got an understanding GP (the Garmin on her wrist was a giveaway). She said it would be OK for me to continue running, but that I shouldn’t race. With this in mind, I decided that I would take the race easy.

The recruitment call

My plan was to try to find one of my slower friends and see whether they would like me to help them get a PB. Before I posted anything on Facebook, I noticed a message in a running group that I’m in, saying that a female pacer was required to do 60 minutes. Excellent! I quickly replied to the message and stated my interest.

I received a very speedy response welcoming me to the pacing team. This meant that I no longer needed my race number. There was just enough time for me to do a legitimate transfer to my friend Verena. 🙂

Race morning

Because of various building works, we were warned that parking would be hard to come by. I decided to cycle to the race as it’s only a few miles away. When I got there I saw my friend, Paul… or at least, he was my friend until he started sharing images like this!

pre Eastleigh 10k
pre Eastleigh 10k ©Paul A. Hammond

I met up with Dave who was organising the pacers. He had arranged for us to have access to a couple of small rooms to change in and store our stuff and had also picked up our numbers, pacing t-shirts and race t-shirts for us.

I had just enough time to get changed and then headed out to the field where a Lordshill team photo was being taken:

Lordshill Road Runners at Eastleigh 10k
Lordshill Road Runners at Eastleigh 10k

Lining up as a pacer with the rest of the Eastleigh 10k crew

Enjoying the race

It was then time to start. I had a really lovely run, chatting with my co-pacer (Jo Nash) and encouraging the people around us to keep going at a steady pace.

Easteligh 10k 2016 pacing Eastleigh 10k 2016 1 Eastleigh 10k 2016 2 Eastleigh 10k 2016 3 Eastleigh 10k 2016 4

In the final kilometre, we encouraged runners around us to start picking up the pace a little bit and then when we got within sight of the finish we urged people to go as quickly as they could to finish in under 60 minutes.

Our final time was 59:18 😀

Eastleigh 10k 2016
Eastleigh 10k 2016

My thoughts on being a pacer

It was great to read some feedback in Southampton Echo on Monday: “They were pacers with personality who made sure people ran with a smile on their face” as relayed to the Echo reporter by the Organiser of the 10k Steve Collins. There was also some great feedback on Facebook after the event:

Eastleigh 10k feedback

I’ve paced at parkrun before. This was the first time I’ve been a pacer at a paid-for race. I can honestly say I loved every minute of it. If you ever get the chance to be a pacer, I’d recommend that you do it!


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