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5535 Views 81 Replies Latest reply: Dec 12, 2007 4:17 PM by JPGarland RSS Go to original post 1 2 3 4 5 6 Previous Next
  • Pete O'Boyle Amateur 74 posts since
    Oct 17, 2007

    In a marathon I ran last year, I was running the same pace as a friend of mine. He had someone on a bike handing him a water/gatoraid bottle every two miles. Sure enough, he would pull ahead of me by a few seconds at every water stop while a slowed down to slurp my beverage and moved on. Eventually he beat me by about a minute. I accused him (good naturedly) of having an advantage with the hand offs, but I still think it was true. I don't think it was cheating per se as he wasn't competing for money or even an age group award. But it definitely gave him an advantage.

  • Do you think it was fair that Lance had so much help in his first NYC marathon?  He just barely finished under 3 with a lot of help from elite runners who were not entered in the race, at least I couldn't find their numbers.  I know this may be a poor example with him being a celebrity and running for his charity but I don't think he would have broken three that year without all the outside influence/help (water, GU, pacing).  In my eyes, that was a HUGE advantage and the fact that he broke three hours that day didn't carry as much weight in my eyes given such help.  Being in the spotlight like he was that day almost condones the behavior for some people; I can understand that even though I don't agree with it.

  • PacerChris Amateur 740 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    I don't think Lance's LIttle Helpers were THAT big a factor last year.  Just my opinion, but he also had to deal with a lot of stuff that the average runners did not (a camera on him the entire way, a bunch of people wanting to run right next to him, etc.)  I'm not saying having someone hand him water didn't help, but I don't think it made that big a difference.

    To compare getting water or an orange slice with cutting the course is ridiculous.

  • quote:


    Originally posted by PacerChris:


     



    You don't think having world class marathoners pacing him, feeding him and encouraging him was worth 30 seconds?  I do.  I would define that as a big difference when trying to break the three-hour barrier.

  • bcc594 Rookie 147 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    No, hiring someone who runs the whole distance with you and sets your pace is fine.  The key is that the person doing the pacing has to also run the whole thing from start to finish.  You see elites all the time set out with their 'rabbits', who then either finish well back, or drop out, or would have set their own world record if the other guy hadn't been two or three seconds faster.  The key, again, is that the person who was hired has done all the work as well.  If you wanted to 'hire' someone to run along beside you the whole way, carry 4 litres of water on his back, and give you pep-talks, then knock-yourself out.  That would be totally fine!

  • PacerChris Amateur 740 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    quote:


    Originally posted by Runaround:

    You don't think having world class marathoners pacing him, feeding him and encouraging him was worth 30 seconds? I do. I would define that as a big difference when trying to break the three-hour barrier.


     



    I would say 30 seconds is a minimal difference...just because those 30 seconds happened to get him under 3 hours doesn't make it more or less significant to me, especially when you take into consideration the other headaches he had to deal with (trust me - as a pacer it's not easy to have a bunch of people chatting you up and running next to you and jostling you around). My buddy ran in the pack next to Lance for half the race and he said it was awesome because of the crowds cheering for Lance, but a lot of guys were darting in front of Lance, talking to him, etc. Joan Benoit Samuelson apparently was throwing some elbows late to clear a path for Lance as guys would jump in front of him to have their finisher photo include Lance, so THAT is probably where he got the biggest assist.

    The only "issue" I had with Lance's run last year was the tag teaming of pacers.  If they had started and finished with him as registered runners no big deal, but to have people jumping in and out of the race to pace and support I think makes it a slightly bigger deal.  I've paced groups and individuals in races but always as a registered runner - I wasn't taking any aid from the course that I shouldn't have since I was in the race.  It's a stretch to say this, but imagine in a race designed to support 200 people if half of them had pacers helping their friends out and taking water on the course, or crowding the course...

  • I must say that I feel that you've contradicted yourself and I disagree with you on the three hour barrier, but to each their own.

  • Twocat Legend 404 posts since
    Oct 12, 2006

    JasonsDrivingForce if you cross the finish line in under a 3:10:59 chip time the BAA says you qualify which means you qualify.  Neither the BAA nor your local RD cares if your family and friends hand you stuff at random places during they race.  That is all that matters.  The BAA and your RD are the "official" arbitrators regarding what mid-pack runners can and cannot do.  What a bunch of people on a forum think is irrelevant.  Most people enjoy having their family and friends out there for support.  The family and friends like having the opportunity to help out.  This is a potential win-win for you and your gang.  Have a good time at the race and good luck with the BQ.

  • PacerChris Amateur 740 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    quote:


    Originally posted by Runaround:

    I must say that I feel that you've contradicted yourself and I disagree with you on the three hour barrier, but to each their own.


     



    I can see that it sounds like I contradicted myself because I can see both sides of the argument. I think it's OK he had people running with him, handing him water, giving him tips, etc - any benefit he got from that I think was outweighed by the other hassles he had to deal with that other runners did not. A 30 second benefit in a marathon to me is insignificant and since you can't tell how much he benefitted from having pacers, it's a moot point anyway.

    In general though, I don't agree with the idea of pacers who jump in the race midway through for someone running a competitive time (define that as you wish - certainly not someone who may win the race or win an age group award).  I've been on pace teams where we have someone jump in midway through and the pacer may hand off to the fresh person and let them take over, but that's different because we're servicing a number of people, not just one or two.  Plus we're doing it for a couple of reasons: 1) Make sure we have someone that can lead the group to the right time if the conditions are tough, and 2) For the health & protection of the pacer (fall is a busy time of year and we may pace 2-3 weekends in a row - not healthy!)

  • RunForFun001 Pro 626 posts since
    Jan 25, 2007

    JasonsDrivingForce

    Have a great race - Please post an let us know how it went

    Have the patience to run the race you planned out, if BQ is your primary goal - Do not get gready when you feel good the 1st 5-10 miles and run too fast - Greedy people usually blow up.

    Ask PacerChris - How many times does someone early on leave the pace group - Feeling good and then you pass them later on - they are road kill.

    On to Boston!

  • RunForFun001 Pro 626 posts since
    Jan 25, 2007

    I didn't mean there was a 3:10 pace group - Just to not get greedy - do not bank time - at least more than a couple of seconds per mile.

    I just used Chris as an example - Because I am sure he has seen many Greedy 3:10 hopefuls blow up.

    Good luck -

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