Location: Manning Park, BC ♦ Distance: 63km ♦ Elevation: ~2800m
Bonnevier to Cascades Aid Station.
This adventure was my first time pacing anyone, and my first time completing an over night run! I was very fortunate to be apart of the crew supporting Dan in his FatDog 120mile race and ran with him starting at Bonnevier aid station around 8:20pm through to Cascades Aid station, finishing at 7:15am! There aren’t really photos to go along with this post, because it mostly occurred in the dark, but the race guide suggests it was beautiful and scenic.
By the time he arrived at Bonnevier he was already 66km’s and a full day into the race. He came in running fresh and at a strong pace. He was doing well with hydration and calories, making for a very smooth and easy job as a rookie pacer.
Running through the night was one of the coolest experiences, especially on a night with a bright orange moon and meteor shower. I felt completely safe which I fully attribute to running with another person, seeing lots of other racers, and being on a course that was very well marked with reflective flagging. One of the highlights on this run was the newly added out and back (not a favorite to racers I am sure) but we got to see so many other races it made this section fun and gave us things to talk about for a good ways as we knew many of the people we passed. Another highlight, the stars. Millions and millions of stars. We stopped at one point and briefly turned off the headlamps and just took in the view. If it weren’t for my fear of being out there alone after dark, I would totally take up night time running. It definitely worked as motivation to get out and run a race that would require running through the night!
Pacing someone who is running much, much, much further than I was made it easy to keep a positive mentality throughout the run. I knew that anything I felt was really minimal compared to the challenges faced by people running 120 miles and this was actually helpful in keeping me positive. It was similar to the mentality I had during Sun Mountain 50miler, where I knew I would not talk about how I felt, so it became irrelevant. I also was able to keep focused on just moving forward and checking in with the pace. I was most concerned about running too fast or slow for Dan to reach his goals. We were ahead of his planned pace, but he was doing great and wanted to push where he could on this section.
For me the biggest challenge with pacing was managing my own calories and water. It worked out really well, but I felt that I wanted to be faster at aid stations or not need much so that I could help out or be ready before Dan. The volunteers helped this happen and were so excellent at every aid station! I think next time I pace I will use small tear and pour packs for my calories, rather than the awkward ziploc portions I have continued to use this season and some real food so that I can manage calories and water separately on long stretches between aid stations.
Pacing is a really incredible experience and I was so fortunate to pace someone who was running strong and having a great race. I hope to get to do this again in the future and one day run a race that requires a pacer!