By George Carden Reporter
A PACER who ran at Brighton Marathon said the extra 568 metres added by mistake forced them to make tough decision to increase their speed and potentially leave runners behind.
The pacer, who wanted to remain anonymous, spoke out after receiving criticism on Twitter following this weekend’s event, where the track was longer than it should have been.
He said he wanted to explain the point of view from the pacers – experienced runners who help other people stick to certain speeds during the race – who were forced to speed up from mile ten.
The pacer said the extra distance, which organisers have apologised for, had a “knock-on effect”.
He said: “We were put in a really difficult position through no fault of ours and not the organisers either. Mistakes happen, of course they do.
The race was 26.2 miles.
“It’s unfortunate but it had a knock-on effect because people were hoping to get round in a certain time and people were following us as pacers.
“There was an outpouring on Twitter and someone was accusing all the pacers of being rubbish but we were caught in a dilemma.”
The pacers, who had balloons attached to them with their running pace, realised that something was not quite right at mile ten of the marathon when they were suddenly behind schedule at the turning point in Rottingdean.
Marathon pacer said the extra distance had a “knock-on effect”.
They were minutes behind schedule, which left them with two choices, stay at their current pace but risk being slower than the pace they were supposed to run at, or increase it to get back to their required time but leave some runners behind who could not keep up.
He said: “Mile nine and ten took us up to Rottingdean, instead of turning around, we went further up than we should have done and that added the extra distance.
“At that point we had to make a decision of if we speed up a little bit and we decided that actually delivering people at the finishing line at the correct pace, that was our job so to speak.”
All the pacers are volunteers, and despite the error with the race, they tried their best to keep runners on their correct time.
“We do it for the love I suppose, a lot of the guys I know do the pacing because they enjoy it and enjoy giving back to the runners.”