Canadian in Candia

July 25, 2009

Vermont 100 – Importance of the Pacer

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Miriam @ 12:00 pm

When Adam paced for Nate last year I didn’t fully understand the importance of pacers. I understood that they kept the runner company during the dark hours of the night but they are so much more than that. I saw some of the roles of the pacer while driving around, and even more when I did the last half mile of the race with Adam and Keith.

So here’s an explanation of the roles of the pacer as I see them:

  1. Companion: The night can be very long and dark when the runner is alone. Having a pacer gives the runner someone to talk to hang out with.
  2. Safety: A lot of the course goes on dirt roads, these roads are still used for cars. The runners are so tired at this point that the pacer helps make sure that the runner gets out of the road when cars are coming down the road. They also keep runners safe from other obstacles.
  3. Encouragement: The pacer is the runner’s own personal cheerleader. Keith used simple encouragements like “just keep your feet moving” and “doing great”. Small reminders that the keep the runner moving and keep their spirit up.
  4. Lookout: The pacer is useful in noticing obstacles in the trail. Rocks, mud patches and logs are all obstacles that could injure a heavily fatigued  runner. Pointing them out help the runner anticipate the problem.
  5. Trail Leader: The trail is marked with glow sticks and yellow plates at night. They are pretty noticeable but to tired eyes they may be hard to see. The pacer helps keep the runner on trail.

I present to you three of the pacers in the race.

Larisa was pacing in the 100K event.  An avid hiker, who’s never really run 30 miles, she ran from dusk to dawn with her runner. She’s planning on running her first 50K soon.  I had a nice time hanging out with her.


Keith is my husband’s friend from the ice climbing world. He’s ex-military and a professional photographer who runs triathlons when he’s not climbing.  He’s no stranger to ultramarathons and I think we’ll see him again at races, running. He also has the cutest child ever and if I believed in posting pictures of children that I’m not related to I would have a post full of just pictures of his kid pouting.


Steve was John’s pacer. He participated as part of the crew for a while but most of the time we hung out taking pictures.  He’s run a few ultramarathons in the past. The funny thing is, I’ve met him before. He’s run with my husband before. But with the glasses on he does a complete Clark Kent versus Superman. I had no idea who he was.

IMGP1595Note: this is probably my favorite portrait from the whole weekend.



  1. I think being a pacer would be so much fun. You guys do such amazing activities. We really need to actually hang out sometime because I love the cool stuff you guys do. Rock climbing, hiking, running, playing with puppy dogs. Mitchell and I love all that stuff too.

    Comment by Jessica — July 25, 2009 @ 6:52 pm

    • We absolutely should! Once things settle down again we should totally make a plan.

      Comment by Miriam — July 27, 2009 @ 11:45 pm

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