Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pacemakers in the Dublin Marathon...
One of the new features in the Dublin Marathon this year was the use of pace makers for the following times....Sub 3, Sub 3:30, Sub 3:45, Sub 4:00, Sub 4:15 and Sub 4:30. As you can see from the photo above, each pace maker ran with a coloured balloon and as expected, each one attracted a large number of runners as they ran in a group to achieve their target time.

Question....would the use of pace makers in other Marathons like in Cork be a good idea??
For the Cork and Dublin Marathons this year, the one big difference between them was the number of runners involved. If you take out the Relay runners in the Cork Marathon, there were only about 1,500 people running as opposed to something like 13,000 in Dublin. Having run in both of them, I noticed that in Cork, I was often running on my own with large gaps between Marathon runners while there was always someone to run with in Dublin. The sub 3 pace maker might not make much sense but what about the other target times? Would there be enough people running at these various target times to justify it?


Jago Holmes said...

Hi John

Wow, I've never heard of that before, but what a great idea although I can't see it being just as easy to manage in larger races as you suggest.

I should imagine it gives a really great team spirit amongst the runners of each pace group?

All the best - Jago

Anonymous said...

Hi John, I never done a marathon before and wasn’t sure what to expect. My first aim was to finish it, and secondly to finish in under 4hrs. Would have been extremely happy with 3:59:59 on clock. So I decided to run with the 3hr45min purple balloons to give myself a bit of a cushion. After 15-16miles I started to fall back a bit, but by mile 20 I knew that I was going to finish in under 4hrs, so I got a second lease of life and finished in a time of 3:50.20 chip time. Needless to say I was over the moon so for me the pacemakers were a mighty job!!! Haven’t stopped showing off my medal since Monday. Roll on the next one :-) Marie Murphy.

Anonymous said...

the marathon is one man/woman against the distance and people ought to be able to run their own race and judge pace according to their ability and training, if they need pacemakers to help them along either as elite or ordinary runners then the final achievement of time and distance is not totally theirs, the competitor should only compete against the other competition with no assistance provided from within the race or from the sidelines. Otherwise why bother?

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with comment No. 3. If you run a marathon with a specific time target in mind, then invariably the idea of pacing has to come into the equation. For example if you want to run sub 3:30 then you know that you'll have to do 8 minute pace or better, and you will train with that in mind. Of course on the day whether you use a garmin or a human pacemaker, you still have to do the work yourself. There were many people, I'm sure, who set out with a "balloon" group on Monday in Dublin who didn't stay with that group, either moving ahead or dropping back.

It's a tough ask for the pacemakers though! No joke to have about twenty people running with you over a marathon distance expecting accuracy to within one minute or so!

Eileen on the run said...

I set out with the 3:45 balloon and pledged to myself never to see the black 4:00 one in front of me at any point in the race. Even though I wore a watch I wasn't inclined to check it but it really kept me going to have the lilac balloon nearby, whether in front or behind.
It was my first marathon & I thought they were a great idea. The last 3 miles went on forever & I lost sight of the lilac to finish in 3:58 BUT I never did see that black balloon!!!
Roll on Cork!

Anonymous said...

Love the idea! Cork 2009 was my first marathon and did it in 3:14, I'd like to run my next marathon in sub 3:00 so having a 3:00 pacemaker would be a great aid as I hate keeping an eye on my watch and all the mile markers :)

I think this would suit Cork as I ended up running for long periods on my own which I found a little daunting at some parts, especially towards the end.

I think you'd have to have a lot of confidence in the pacemaker though, I'd be extremely disappointed if they got injured during the race or if they ran it in over 3:00 :)