Pacer Spotlight: Greg Allin

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Pacer Spotlight: Greg Allin

As we look to our first September pacing event this weekend, we’d like to introduce one of the pacing team for the Maidenhead Half. Greg has been running for six years, after a growing family forced him to quit the gym and grab his trainers instead. He spoke to us about his running and pacing experiences.

1. Which PBs are you most proud of, and what are your PB targets for the next year?

My first ever 10km race was in August 2009, I ran it in 53’30” and it nearly killed me! Since then I have worked to lower my 10km PB every year consistently and I re-ran that very first 10km race this year. 6 years later in August 2015 I ran it in 42’51”. I still think there is a bit more to shave off too! I have never run a marathon but hope to do so next year (my entry is in the ballot for the 2016 London Marathon). That’s the good thing about running a specific distance for the first time, whatever time I run my first marathon in, it will definitely be a PB.

2. Which races would you recommend most highly?

Scenic races and/or those with good crowd support. Running is hard and running a race is sometimes even harder. A race that offers good scenery or runs through a town offering lots of crowd support always helps to take my mind off the race and helps the miles go by. A good tip is to put your name on your racing T-shirt if running a race you know there will be a good crowd, a lot of people will then call out your name as you go by, the encouragement this provides is massive – even though you don’t know them.

Pacer spotlight race pacing running

3. Have you ever got your own race pacing wrong?

I was lucky enough to run the Las Vegas half marathon a few years ago. I had a time in mind I wanted to achieve as it is a really flat course. But with all the excitement, music and Las Vegas atmosphere at the start, I just sprinted off, running past Caesars Palace and other well-known hotels. It wasn’t till the 2 mile mark I actually looked at my watch and saw I was running at around my normal 5km pace. Come 10 miles that early fast pace was taking its toll and I was really slowing and struggled the last 3 miles home. If I had stuck to a better and more controlled pace at the start, I know I would have enjoyed the race much more and probably beaten my time.

4. Which events have you paced at and how did you find the experience?

Most of my pacing experience has been with friends in local races trying to help them to achieve that elusive PB they have been after or when they are coming back from injury. My most proud achievement is pacing one of my best friends (who is 6 foot 8 and weighs 19 stone) to a sub 2’00” half marathon. It was hard and required a lot of encouragement along the entire route – especially as he was going up the hills! But the reward, as a pacer, was the emotional high and jubilation I shared with him when we crossed the line a few seconds before the 2 hours. Sometimes it is a better feeling helping others achieve their goals than the feeling of having run a good race or getting a PB yourself.

5. What’s the best bit of race day advice that you won’t find in regular running magazines?

Don’t compare yourself to others in a race. We all have different genetic ability, training capability and potential to improve. I have been overtaken in races by runners 25 years older than me and by runners pushing a pram. It is easy to get dejected as they come by as you are trying your hardest. The only person you really race against is yourself. Compare yourself against you and that’s the true measure if your training is helping you improve.

Greg will be pacing the sub 2:00 hour runners at Maidenhead Half on Sunday 6th September.

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