Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

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canalrunner
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Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby canalrunner » Tue May 27, 2014 9:08 pm

For the past several years, I have been organizing pace teams in Ottawa and reporting on their success to encourage a focus on delivering good pacing for runners. Being close to the finish time is only one criteria of a good pacer: even pacing through out, good communication, motivation etc... are others. But, the numbers are good way to take the temperature, and with the warm Ottawa weather probably a good metaphor. I award Golden ears and a bag of carrots to the best pacer(by time) in each race. So here are some quick stats:

In the 10k, 12 out 13 pacers were within a minute of their times, and you will love this stat: 9 were within 10 seconds, 6 pacers within 5 seconds. I probably should spray-paint 9 sets of ears, but sadly due to cost and environmental concerns, I am awarding only one set of Golden ears for the 60 minute who was 1 second from his 60 minute time. That is all crazy good.

In the half marathon, 19 out of 23 pacers were within 1 minute of their times. A 2 hour RW pacer won the Golden Ears coming within .5 second of his time. Three other pacers came within 5 seconds of their target.

In the marathon, 15 out of 22 pacers were within 1 minute of their times. The 5 hour pacer won the Golden Ears coming within .6 second of his time. Three other pacers came within 10 seconds of their target.

A couple of pacers had a tough time, but all did the wise thing and stepped off from their role of pacer when they knew they having to slow down or stop and would not be good for the runners. That is a tough decision for experienced runners/pacers to make as there is a lot of pride involved.

RM shout outs to Lisa and Andy who both did awesome jobs as pacers. Thanks for helping. On a personal note, I paced at 4 hours, had a great time and ran 3:59.34-- so 26 seconds from goal. Guess I can keep my spot.
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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby Jwolf » Tue May 27, 2014 9:23 pm

Wow that's a really good set of bunnies. :)

Great job Mark. How many people did you have with you for that 4:00 time?

I still have a bit of an issue with the Golden Ears though- are those people really that much better at pacing or are they just better at timing their finish line chip time?
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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby Marg » Wed May 28, 2014 4:38 am

Hats off to you bunny master. It's a lot of work coordinating and organizing this and a lot of runners benefit for it. Thank you for what you do. 8)
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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby HCcD » Wed May 28, 2014 5:44 am

Image

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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby AndyM » Wed May 28, 2014 7:19 am

Whoot whoot. Congrats Pacers. Great work!

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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby purdy65 » Wed May 28, 2014 7:30 am

Mark.

Thanks for letting me be part of the team! I was a tad nervous about the marathon distance, but in the end I had a blast. Probably in some ways, my best marathon - certainly my most evenly paced! :lol: :lol:

I started out with a huge group. I had some drop off, and some join - to try and pick it up towards the end. I could definitely see the heat getting to people.

Words I hope not to hear - at least until I coach another clinic, or pace another marathon - "When is the next walk break?"

Many thanks for organizing Mark! You do a spectacular job!
Last edited by purdy65 on Wed May 28, 2014 7:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby Habs4ever » Wed May 28, 2014 7:35 am

Congratulations to all the pace bunnies.

Lisa, when is the next walk break?
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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby Jogger Barbie » Wed May 28, 2014 8:24 am

Awesome job by the ORW pacing team! Congratulations to all!
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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby purdy65 » Wed May 28, 2014 8:25 am

Habs4ever wrote:Congratulations to all the pace bunnies.

Lisa, when is the next walk break?


Ughh.... :lol: :lol:
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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby Pat29 » Wed May 28, 2014 9:25 am

Great job organizing once again Mark.
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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby canalrunner » Wed May 28, 2014 7:51 pm

Jwolf wrote:Wow that's a really good set of bunnies. :)

Great job Mark. How many people did you have with you for that 4:00 time?

I still have a bit of an issue with the Golden Ears though- are those people really that much better at pacing or are they just better at timing their finish line chip time?


They were good bunnies. I hear you on the Golden Ears. For me, it is just one measure. Certainly I hear when a pacer is 5 minutes off or when a pacer goes out way to fast, and I think if you are within a minute (30 seconds in shorter races) preferably under (especially the BQ times) then you have delivered on your time. Assuming reasonably even pace etc.. Your point is also why I give a bag of carrots and spray painted ears--it is serious to get close but only to a point.

I had a lot start with me. Funny calling first walk break and looking back and seeing maybe 40 people walking. Lots of tough second halfs for people so lots of fading. In the end, it is pacing a group at the start, and pacing to time at the end.
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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby Irongirl » Wed May 28, 2014 9:15 pm

Would you consider using split times as well in your golden ears decision? :-)

I finished right around the 2:30 continuous half bunny.

At 1 km left, he took of in a sprint that made everyone look at him in confusion. We all commented on it, that's how noticeable it was. I've actually never seen anything like it before.

Having said this...thank you for doing all the organizing! It's a big job, and you pick great bunnies!
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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby canalrunner » Thu May 29, 2014 6:21 am

Irongirl wrote:Would you consider using split times as well in your golden ears decision? :-)

I finished right around the 2:30 continuous half bunny.

At 1 km left, he took of in a sprint that made everyone look at him in confusion. We all commented on it, that's how noticeable it was. I've actually never seen anything like it before.

Having said this...thank you for doing all the organizing! It's a big job, and you pick great bunnies!


I would except I probably do enough math on this as it is (also rough guess is I spend 80 hours organizing for each race). Also Sportstats seems less searchable than it has been (I put Bunny as part of a first name). I do spot check when I hear and usually email chat.

BTW the 230C was female and she was on pace at 10k but she actually stopped pacing because of injury...so it may have been someone carrying the sign. I did a quick check of the RW pacer (male) and his pace was great at 10k--actually about 15 seconds in the bank and finished with 7 seconds so he slowed down in the second half. Not exactly sure what to say. Perhaps it was the RW pacer who would be running his last k about 10 seconds faster per k than the 230 run pace.

I do try to encourage 1) even pace 2) pacers telling people where they are to pace at key times so hopefully if a pacer is behind at 10, 15 k etc...that they are letting people know, if that are going to have to pick up the pace.
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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby HCcD » Thu May 29, 2014 6:36 am

Anybody have the garmin distance for this year's marathon course? If I recall, for the 1/2, my garmin was at least 21.3x .. and, if the Pace Bunny was pacing by his garmin, then it would have been quite a shock if at the 41K mark, in his mind, according to the garmin he thought that he may have had only 900m to go vs the 1.2K on the course ???

Yeah, yeah,it is no excuse, I realize that one should be pacing off the course markers and not the garmin .. Yeay, yeah ... but, imagine the mindset if you were on a certain pace, and suddenly found yourself 90-120 seconds off ?? Yikes !! :shock: :shifty:

And, having said that, I would always tell those running with me, within 1K to the finish line, to take off if you can, in particularly if you have a time goal, as if you are beside me and/or behind me, we should be pretty bang on, but, if you are ahead of me, then you will definitely be under the set time goal ... :P
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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby canalrunner » Thu May 29, 2014 7:04 am

HCcD wrote:Anybody have the garmin distance for this year's marathon course? If I recall, for the 1/2, my garmin was at least 21.3x .. and, if the Pace Bunny was pacing by his garmin, then it would have been quite a shock if at the 41K mark, in his mind, according to the garmin he thought that he may have had only 900m to go vs the 1.2K on the course ???

Yeah, yeah,it is no excuse, I realize that one should be pacing off the course markers and not the garmin .. Yeay, yeah ... but, imagine the mindset if you were on a certain pace, and suddenly found yourself 90-120 seconds off ?? Yikes !! :shock: :shifty:

And, having said that, I would always tell those running with me, within 1K to the finish line, to take off if you can, in particularly if you have a time goal, as if you are beside me and/or behind me, we should be pretty bang on, but, if you are ahead of me, then you will definitely be under the set time goal ... :P


As a pacer, I hate the Garmin. K markers, timing mats, watch, pace band. Boston doesn't accept your Garmin result as proof of your marathon time. You will always run longer than the distance according to Garmin. Plus chance of malfunction is higher.
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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby HCcD » Thu May 29, 2014 7:08 am

canalrunner wrote:
HCcD wrote:Anybody have the garmin distance for this year's marathon course? If I recall, for the 1/2, my garmin was at least 21.3x .. and, if the Pace Bunny was pacing by his garmin, then it would have been quite a shock if at the 41K mark, in his mind, according to the garmin he thought that he may have had only 900m to go vs the 1.2K on the course ???

Yeah, yeah,it is no excuse, I realize that one should be pacing off the course markers and not the garmin .. Yeay, yeah ... but, imagine the mindset if you were on a certain pace, and suddenly found yourself 90-120 seconds off ?? Yikes !! :shock: :shifty:

And, having said that, I would always tell those running with me, within 1K to the finish line, to take off if you can, in particularly if you have a time goal, as if you are beside me and/or behind me, we should be pretty bang on, but, if you are ahead of me, then you will definitely be under the set time goal ... :P


As a pacer, I hate the Garmin. K markers, timing mats, watch, pace band. Boston doesn't accept your Garmin result as proof of your marathon time. You will always run longer than the distance according to Garmin. Plus chance of malfunction is higher.


Yeah, I have since realized that .. from experience, and after being told over and over and over, of it's accuracy over a road course markers ... Such the case, in my my, I have started to adjust my paces by a few seconds per km ... but, always find it an interesting topic to compare garmin distances with others at the end .. And, if anything .. Garmin sure is consistent .. Ha !!! :lol: :wink: :shifty:
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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby Jwolf » Thu May 29, 2014 9:22 am

You'll never make the pace properly if you rely on the Garmin. But course markings aren't always perfect either. In my race on Sunday the Garmin was always ahead of the KM markers (by about 100m) on the course until about 39k. Then all of a sudden there was a "long" kilometre on the course and the Garmin ended up being behind by about 200m. I don't know if the course markings were off or what- but it would have been pretty frustrating for someone using them.
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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby HCcD » Thu May 29, 2014 9:54 am

Jwolf wrote:You'll never make the pace properly if you rely on the Garmin. But course markings aren't always perfect either. In my race on Sunday the Garmin was always ahead of the KM markers (by about 100m) on the course until about 39k. Then all of a sudden there was a "long" kilometre on the course and the Garmin ended up being behind by about 200m. I don't know if the course markings were off or what- but it would have been pretty frustrating for someone using them.


Exactly, similar to that for the Ottawa course(s) .... Now, I will tend to, in my head, allow and accept for an extra bit, and reflect that in a second or two faster km splits .... Obviously, other than the Elites, not many could / would have been able to run the tangents on the course, in particularly, when there were a number of turns and switchbacks, a number of City courses ....
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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby Robinandamelia » Thu May 29, 2014 10:13 am

Super impressive stats. They should almost advertise that (if they don't) on the race website. I'm always hesitant to use bunnies because of bad experiences, so knowing the accuracy level would be a good thing. Nice work.

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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby Dstew » Thu May 29, 2014 10:49 am

I used a pace bunny once, my first marathon when standing at the start line I realized I had no idea what I was doing. My plan was to use the bunny for the first few kilometers until I got set with my pace but ended up using him until about 3 K to go. The only reason I did that was at that point, had a took a walk break I may not have started to run again. I believe he was less then a minute under four hours and did a great job. His speech at the 32 K mark was great - you are all tired and sore and wanting to stop but here is a secret, everyone in front of you feels the same way. My experience was great but I was ultimately responsible for my own race. I started to feel really good around the 25 K mark and ran ahead and then changed my mind. The bunny was a nice aid for me but I had a watch and pace band. These are volunteers who are doing the best that they can and so I have to question why people hold them up to standards as if they were professionals. And reading a number of recent race reports, how many people missed their goal so the best laid plans ... so for me, each and every one for just showing up earned the golden ears but if some are singled out, the current way to do it is as good as any.

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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby Kelodie » Thu May 29, 2014 11:08 am

Those are awesome stats, Mark! :D

From a spectator perspective, I love knowing that the pace bunnies are actually on pace because I use them to assess how the runners i'm following are doing, if i'm about to see them, if they sped up or slowed down, etc.
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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby purdy65 » Thu May 29, 2014 12:01 pm

I didn't use just one thing. I used a combination of them all:

KM markers (when I found them)
Timing mats
Garmin.

I used the garmin mostly for average pace - just to get the sense that I was in the correct general vicinity - but I also used the time on the garmin at each mat.

I found the easiest thing to do in longer distances is 5KM calibrations.

When doing the shorter distances like Andy - it's harder, because you don't have those longer periods to calibrate - you pretty much have to be on pace at every moment.

I learned a lot from this experience as well as last year.
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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby RobW » Thu May 29, 2014 12:12 pm

Those are impressive numbers so congrats to all the bunnies.

Not sure what I would do if I were a bunny at RFW since the course markers were short up until the 39K mark as Jen mention. I've been in races where the markers were a bit short at the beginning but not for 39K. I made a pace band in 5K increments with 2 calculated times under each - one where I should be based on course markers and the other by my Garmin (based on 42.5K). I ended up going by average pace by my Garmin since I was running my own race but I would be worried if I was pacing a group.

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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby NMG » Thu May 29, 2014 6:29 pm

For what it's worth, my Garmin had the 1/2 course at ORW at 21.30 KM's.

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Re: Ottawa Race Weekend 2014: Pacer Accountability

Postby jemez » Thu May 29, 2014 10:13 pm

My Garmin had the 1/2 at 21.26. This was my 2nd year as a bunny, I write the 5k splits on my sign & use that to (slightly) adjust pace. FWIW, there are 2 things from this year's race that I'm proud of (apart from being withing 3s of my goal time). 1: there was a 1s/km difference between my pace in the first 10k and the rest of the race. 2: A runner tripped or collapsed at around 7k and hit his head hard on the road. I stopped, and using my pace sign to direct runners protected him from being trampled, until 2 other runners stopped and told me they'd take care of him. FWIW, when that happened, I thought my race might be over since there was no way I was leaving a semi-conscious runner in the middle of the road.


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