Part of the appeal of pacing at Western States is being able to taste some of the excitement and drama of the event without actually, you know ... having to run 100 miles. If you’re also a little bit self-serving, the appeal of pacing somebody a few weeks before your own 100-miler is that is gives you an opportunity to practice things like moving through aid stations and running through the night all while getting in a nice long training run.
Of course, there’s an intangible benefit to pacing as well, which I’ll explain towards the end of the post. In the meantime, I figured I’d share some of my own observations from Gretchen's night while she’s dragging her feet to write an official race report. (**UPDATED! Gretchen's report is up now.)
At Western States, your role as a pacer begins at Foresthill, the mile 62 aid station which is also the primary access point for crew and spectators throughout the entire course. I got there early enough to sit and watch the front runners come through before grabbing a quick nap in the grass later in the afternoon.
Montrail girl: You’re not going to pace somebody in those shoes, are you?
Me: Actually … yeah. I am.
Montrail girl: No, seriously.
Montrail girl: So what are those, anyway?
I started my little spiel about Soft Star and the whole minimalist thing, but I’m pretty sure she lost interest about 30 seconds in. I guess I’ll just consider that to be planting the seed, and let someone else cultivate it later on.
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