Wednesday, July 05, 2006

March of the Black Knight Army

What a buzz!!!! About half way through the race I turned and a called out to the horde just behind me ….. “I’m feeling great, how are you guys feeling?” … “Great!” came the chorus of a hundred voices ….. and then I said “Is it just me? Cause I’m still just a little bit excited and have been since we started!”

The rewards of pacing the 4 hour marathon are far greater than I could have dreamed. It’s like having the excitement of 10 marathons in one. Unlike running my own race, I was running for all those around me. For four hours I harnessed extraordinary energy, never tired, always focused on achieving consistent splits and completely tapped in with positive thoughts to the point of invincibility.

Through the first 10k I had to keep pulling back the pace, as several runners in the group would surge ahead before sticking with me, and we crossed the marker within 1 second of the goal pace. 5 minute 41 seconds per km so 10k was 56 minutes and 50 seconds. After that, I was still controlling the flow but allowing us to creep ahead a little, around 5 seconds per km. We crossed halfway at 1:59:13 and from there sat on goal pace right through to the end.

The whole experience started two days before the start. I looked after the expo booth and answered the questions of nervous runners and reassured them what was going to happen. They hung on my every word and it dawned on me there and then, that they had placed a lot of trust in my hands.

Clive was one of my favorites, he was on my shoulder for 36K. When I ran around someone ahead, he made the same move. I think he bumped into me about a dozen times on the day. It was really sad for me when Clive slowed down with 6K to go. I dropped back and tried to get him to come with me but he was done and I had to keep on the job. At least Clive has the photo taken by his fiancee taken on the course with me waving my arms and a big grin just behind him. He'll see it when he gets home. The people above are some of those that worn the black pace band and marched with me through the day. Each has a story, that I can tell you, and just looking up their photos online and checking their times as I have done for the last few hours makes me wish it never ended.

Hang on a second .... can't remember seeing one in pink pants!!! How did that get in there?


Blogger Black Knight said...

What a glorious march! Thank you from the italian legion. I think I know the lady in pink......
Sir Height had a nice idea: a Coat of Arms (with Egidio), what do you think?

12:38 am  
Blogger D said...

You have got to be one of the funniest pacers - I bet you have a new fan club for life. Love hate's pink tights!

3:01 am  
Blogger Wobbly man said...

Nice one Toast! I paced a little group of Cool Runners at the C2S last year and that was by far my 2005 running highlight - far better than any PBs. The joy of giving is very under-rated!

12:27 pm  
Blogger robtherunner said...

Sounds like a great experience and you did a great job keeping even splits. I would need to work on that before I attempted to lead a pace group. I am not sure how you can pass up the opportunity to hack up your luns every once in awhile. It's a liberating experience. It must be similar to running naked.

11:08 pm  
Blogger E-Speed said...

Great job Black Knight Army Pace Group!!! What a rush that must have been!

9:28 pm  
Blogger Scott said...

Way to go Mark! I'm sad for Clive though. 36k... just 6 k to go ..... might as well have been a 1000 I suppose...

9:21 pm  
Blogger Tesso said...

What a ball!!! And what perfect pacing. Next time you do that I'm coming along for the ride.

I think you've found your forte in life. Wouldn't it be great if you could make a living being a professional pacer.

3:24 pm  

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