When wanting to do a parkrun, but not “flat out” I sometimes volunteer to be a pacer. if you want to do this, you firstly need to choose a time that you can run comfortably and second, have the means to judge it so that you finish in either exactly, or slightly better than, that time. This is by no means easy and requires concentration and unless you have an uncanny ability, a GPS running watch. There is also the matter of GPS inaccuracy; my watch always measures the 5K Temple Newsam route at fractionally over (3.15 miles) so I need to make an adjustment to my pace.
The next matter is how you vary the pace. Now, I imagine you might think that “even splits” is the way to go and maybe it is on a flat course but this isn’t so easy on an “undulating” course like Temple Newsam. I like to run at a pace so that someone to whom that time is the fastest they have ever run, can keep up with me all the way round. So it’s no good me going steady down the hill and then maintaining the same pace up, because to the runners following, it will feel like i’m powering up the hill. I therefore need to get ahead on the downhill and lose that time on the ups, just like I would do if I were running to my PB. The art is to choose how much to get ahead, because if you lose someone on the downhill you might lose them completely because there is nothing more demotivating than lagging behind your pacer, it’s possible you may give up!
Finally, I encourage everyone to try their hand at pacing; it’s very rewarding when someone comes up to you and thanks you because you helped them get a PB, but one word of advice. Please don’t finish the time slower than the target, no one wants to beat the pacer and then find they were too slow.
“but test everything; hold fast what is good.”
1 Thessalonians 5:21 ESV