Let Joe’s Pacers Help You Reach Your Half Marathon Goal

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So, you’re going to run a half marathon….13.1 miles. Whether it’s your first half marathon or your fiftieth, 13.1 miles is still an awfully long distance. That’s why the Christie Clinic Illinois Race Weekend Team provides Joe’s Pacers to help you have the optimal race day experience.

Sometimes I hear from first timers that they are apprehensive about running with a pacer. They shouldn’t be. Pacers are a wealth of information for newbies and love to help you finish your half marathon.  Experienced runners often are in our pace groups so they can improve their performance and set a new PR. Many runners are in the group just to have fun running with other runners and enjoying the camaraderie.

Here’s some information about Joe’s Pacers and what you can expect during race weekend.

First, the pacers are all experienced marathon runners and have run on average over 20 marathons, each so they know what to expect in a long-distance event. They make a commitment that they will “stick with you” through what can be a difficult time and encourage you when things get tough.

There will be a Pace Team booth at the Health & Fitness Expo in the packet pickup area. We encourage you to stop by to meet the pace leaders, discuss your race plan, and receive last minute tips.

On race morning, the pacers will be in the start line area about 20 minutes ahead of the gun. Find your pacer and introduce yourself. You’ll meet other runners that are in the group as well, and they’ll be your teammates for the next hour or two. Each pacer will explain their race plan, which involves starting a bit slow, and then easing into pace, along with how they will manage fluid stations. Now is the time for you to ask any questions you might still have.

During the run, the pacer will remind you to drink Nuun, the race’s on-course sport drink, to replenish your electrolytes and not wait until you are thirsty to take fluids. They’ll remind you to take a GU halfway through the event to get the energy boost you need. They’ll tell stories, jokes, or play games like “which body part doesn’t hurt?”—anything that will take your mind off your fatigue.

As you approach the last few miles, the pacer will cut you loose, if you have extra energy left, or just help you hang on to finish on your goal time. If you’ve fallen behind, the pacer will be hanging around the finish area for 10 to 15 minutes and congratulate you for the job well done.

Take a look at the Pace Team page on the race website http://marathonpacing.com/illinois.php and find out why we’re called “Joe’s Pacers,” learn what half marathon paces we’ll cover, read the bios of all the pacers, and review the FAQs. We’ll look forward to seeing you on Saturday, April 29, 2023.

Jim Crist ran his first marathon in 1981 and has completed over 100 marathons since then. Having a knack for
running evenly and enjoying helping other runners, he formed MarathonPacing.com in 2003. Jim is a USATF
National-Level Official in Long Distance Running and a frequent speaker at marathon expos.