.A few weeks ago, one of my friends commented on Facebook that her 8-year-old son was speeding up. She felt she was holding him back at parkrun. At the time, he was running at around 27 minutes. I felt that pacing at parkrun shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. A date was set. Then the young lad blew everyone away by running just under 24 minutes at a flat local parkrun!
I knew that I wouldn’t be able to pace someone to sub 24 as I’ve only run at that speed once myself. However, I still felt confident that I could help the young man to a Southampton PB.
I met up with my running buddy before the start of parkrun. We positioned ourselves towards the front for the start. Although there weren’t as many runners as usual, it was still quite congested. We did a little bit of weaving amongst other runners and also ran on the grass at the side a bit.
At the top of the hill, we moved onto the grass at the side and I told my pacee that if he wanted to go faster then I would make sure that I kept up. He replied that he was saving some energy so that he could have a good sprint finish.
We carried on down the hill and were soon caught by Stuart and baby M. The continued with us as we went up the hill towards the crossroads. We had some support there as my running buddy’s dad and brother were there cheering the runners on.
On the second lap, the young runner pushed much harder on the downhill, so I had to work reasonably hard to keep up and talk to him.
We turned the corner for the final uphill towards the crossroads and ‘mini Mo’ started to kick. I knew that if we stayed together then I would hold him back, so I shouted to Stu to run with him to the finish.
I turned onto the final downhill section and heaved a sigh of relief that my pacee would be able to achieve a good time. Slowing down to a steady jog gave me a chance to catch my breath.
After I crossed the finish line, I was pleased to see that I had still achieved a sub 25 minute run.
Massive congratulations to ‘runner boy’, who was 30 seconds quicker than me, which is an impressive performance for an 8-year-old!
Have you ever tried pacing at parkrun?