First Time Pacing at Parkrun

I had the pleasure of being a pacer at Luton Wardown Parkrun today.  It was my first time pacing at Parkrun, it was the first time pacing anywhere.  I felt a little anxious knowing that someone else may be depending on me to get that time they’ve been wanting.  I didn’t know if I would run too slow, not keep up, or run too fast, for the time I was pacing.  I decided to choose to be the 30 minute pacer.  How fun would that be to help someone get a 30 minute 5K!  Since my 5K at this event has been consistently under 30 minutes, with the last 2 weeks being 27 minutes and some change, I felt that opting for the 30 minutes would be ok.  There was an added fun element that it was Halloween Week and we could also dress up if we wanted.  I did, for a change,  I think its the first time I went all out.  I was going to chose a DIY costume – making it purple but couldn’t figure out what to do.  I ended up getting a Burgundy (closest to purple I could find) witch costume.  I went to pick it up last night from Asda and it was a lot more than I thought it would be.  The witches hat was a bit OTT for me, so I got mini witches instead 🙂

First time pacing
The run started and as usual I got swept up with the initial crowd. A few people did make themselves known to me for the 30 minute time.  So I tried to keep a tally of who they were so that I could keep them in my sights.  But it is hard to know whether to just keep running, so that you keep to pace, or stick with the people who wanted to run that pace so you can help get them back.  But obviously it should be to keep running.  others could join along the way.  I tried to slow the pace down from the initial 5:15 min/km I started out at, to around 5:45 min/km.  I thought that was a good pace – and that when the hill (or slope) came then I would most likely slow down for that.  Most of the group was able to stick with me for at least up to 3.5 km – but shortly after that I was left with just the one person.  The average pace ended up being around 5:55 min/km – which is only 5 seconds off – but altogether means its a whole 30 seconds quicker overall! I was definitely slightly too fast for most but I did help one guy get a PB and sub-30 minutes to boot!  I even got a mention on the Facebook Page 🙂

My own watch clocked 29:34 for the full 5 km however I did run a little bit further after the finish to make up the last 0.05km.  My official time was 28:56!

It was fun, a nice challenge and a fantastic way to earn a volunteer point.

Have you volunteered at Parkrun?  Have you ever been a pacer? How was your first time pacing?



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