GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo (CBS4) – When the Transamerica Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Half Marathon takes off, there will be some participants who are running to set the pace for the other runners. They’re called Smart Pacers. Runner’s Edge of the Rockies is providing 34 Smart Pacers for the Rock ‘n’ Roll races.
LINK: Smart Pacers
“I’m still a little nervous about it because basically what you’re doing is making sure someone else completes their race in their goal time,” said Lisa Hayen, who sets the pace for the 2:25 time group.
Hayen and the other Smart Pacers will be tracking times for 16 pace groups.
“You have to have a timing device and you’re always having to check it against mile markers,” Hayen told CBS4.
Mike Dover said he likes being a pace setter because it changes the dynamic of the race.
“You move away from focusing on yourself to helping others achieve a goal,” Dover said.
There is strategy to it too. The Smart Pacers will start a little slow to get their runners warmed up, then they’ll pick up the pace on some of the easier stretches, and slow down again for some of the hills. And when the going gets tough, they’re there to coach and cheer their pace group to the finish.
“When you finish after pacing, people come up to you and say, ‘Thank you!’ and you didn’t even know that they were following you,” Dover explained.