First of all–wow–you guys love a good party! Thanks for all the nice comments. After that kind of response it was hard to think of a good follow-up, but I think I have one. To me, this is a pretty juicy topic.
Not long ago, I offered to pace someone through a half-marathon in order to achieve a PR. She decided not to run it, so it didn’t become an issue. But after I put that offer out there, it occurred to me–did I just offer to help her cheat?
I am definitely conflicted on this. On the one hand, many marathons have sanctioned pacers to help people achieve their desired goal. Is this any different because it’s just one person helping out another? I would have entered the race, btw, because other than at Boston, where it’s widely accepted, I’m not a fan of bandits.This wasn’t a marathon, so I wasn’t going to be helping someone BQ. But…
The flip side is that it’s probably not really fair to other competitors. What if my pacing this woman cost someone a placement in their age group? If one of my competitors did that to me, I’d probably be a bit ticked. Plus, in the end, the competitor who has the pacer has to question whether or not they could have done this time without someone’s help–probably not a fun one to wrestle with, I’m guessing.
So I don’t know. I do love helping others with their running when I’m qualified to do so. I’ve actually tossed a half marathon before because I came upon a friend who was really struggling in the midst of her marathon on the same course. But that’s different–I wasn’t pacing her for time, just giving her encouragement to get through a really bad day (and she’s faster than me anyhow!). I still like the idea of pacing someone to a PR, but I’m kind of thinking it’s a no-no.
What do you think of pacing others in a race?