Meet Jason: your 3:00 pacer
Number of marathons run: 54
Number of marathons paced: 24
When did you decide to become a marathon pacer and what prompted you to take on this important role?
I started running marathons in 2012 and would always notice the marathon pacers at the events I did. I loved how calm and relaxed they were whilst helping others. They just seemed to have no fear of the distance and had an air of confidence that inspired me – I wanted to be like that too! But most of all, I really wanted to help others achieve the times I once chased.
How do you prepare for marathon pacing? For example, do you have to train as the other participants do?
I work really hard to maintain my fitness. I will train like I am running for a PB so that on race day I can run the time I am pacing a lot easier. I respect the distance and treat every marathon I run as if it was my first with how I prepare for it. I do track work, double days, midweek long runs, a lot of swimming and no boozing!
What are some of the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ you have experienced in the role?
The ‘highs’ that come with pacing are from the kudos and thanks I receive on the finish line from runners who have been with me from the start, and who I have helped to achieve their goal. Obviously not everyone makes to the end with me and I guess the ‘lows’ come from seeing a runner drop off the back of the group. Although this is hard, I remind myself that I am there to pace the time, not one individual runner, and sometimes it just doesn’t work out for someone on event day (trust me, I’ve been there!)
Have you met any interesting people along the way?
All marathon runners are interesting! They are all out there pushing themselves for something, whether it be the personal glory of a PB or running to raise lots of money for charity.
Do you feel any pressure being a pacer? If so, how do you manage that?
Of course. I not only feel the weight of responsibility of the role entrusted upon me by the event organisers to deliver a time goal, but also every runner who has trained hard for 4 months and are putting their trust in me to deliver. I handle the pressure by making sure I have trained and prepared properly, so I am confident I can run the time required.
For those who have run over 10 marathons: how do you take care of your body, so that you are fit to run so many marathons?
I try to eat and drink healthily and get plenty of sleep. I also get regular sports massages!
What is one piece of advice you have for someone who’s marathon target time is the one you are pacing in Manchester?
Get plenty of sleep in race week.
What is your experience of the Manchester Marathon?
I love Manchester Marathon not only because it’s flat & fast but the support from the crowds that turn out is awesome!
What’s the best way to celebrate after a marathon?
Personally I will always celebrate with dirty food! A triple cheese burger or a kebab with lots of salty fries followed by a milkshake then a beer or two!