Pacing the Way Forward: Pacers Help Staten Island Half Runners Hit Their Goals Ahead of Marathon Day


Ahead of the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon, NYRR unveiled its new-look pace team at the Staten Island Half.

As runners entered their corrals on the morning of October 14, many were greeted by members of the NYRR Pace Team Presented by Biofreeze. The squad also unveiled a cool, fresh design for their singlets, inspired by Biofreeze products.

NYRR’s beloved pace team motivates, pushes, and—most importantly—keeps our runners on track to achieve their personal bests. To some runners, they are #MySecretWeapon as they race against the clock on course.

We spoke to five runners who used the NYRR Pace Team Presented by Biofreeze at the Staten Island Half and why it was their secret weapon! Here’s what they had to say about the experience.

Breaking Two

My goal was to break two hours and I did! When I did the New Balance Bronx 10 Mile in September, I used the pace team and it really helped me. I did that race in 1:31 and I still had something left in the tank, so I thought I could break two hours in this race by using the pace team.

My previous PR was 2:12, so this is massive for me. I would tell people: try this pace team, even once. The pacers prevent you from going out too fast and help you to keep going.

When you are with the pacers, other runners are around you following them, so there is great camaraderie and humor—and you know you’re going at the right pace. The team makes racing easy.

Jill Scibilia (pictured above)
Staten Island Half finish time: 1:59:22


For Extra Encouragement, Use the Pacers

I was looking to run the Staten Island Half in under two hours and my time was 1:49.

When I race by myself, I sometimes find it hard to keep going. I often feel like I need some encouragement or someone to tell me what pace I should be going at. With the pace team, it made things easy as if I went in front of them, they told me I was going too fast. If I fell behind them, I knew I had to speed up.

It’s a 13.1 mile course so if you run solo, it can feel like a long time. That’s where I tend to lose track and focus, which affects me from hitting my goals, so the pacers were a reassurance for me today. My pacer (who is also my dad, Otto) kept us in the know by talking to—and encouraging—us the whole way.

And for anyone who is not sure, the pacers are very easy to find in the corrals—you can’t miss their signs and their colored shirts.

Olivia Lam
Staten Island Half finish time: 1:49:23

I Was Able to Relax

My goal was to hit 1:40, which was a big ask because my last half marathon was 1:50:05.

I used the 1:40 pace team—I saw them ahead of me right at the start, so I caught up to them, looked to stay with them, and knew if I held that, I’d get the time I wanted.

The two pacers were hilarious. They were cracking jokes the whole time and telling us what to prepare for on the course. Some of the simple things they did—such as tell us that a big hill was coming around mile nine and to keep some energy for it—helped me to stay relaxed and made the miles go by so fast.

In the last few miles I even realized I had a little bit more to give so I was able to break off and get an even better time. My advice for anyone thinking about using a pace team: use them. You won’t regret it.

Justin Smith
Staten Island Half finish time: 1:34:28


Just Trust Them

I am preparing for the TCS New York City Marathon so I wanted to test myself and achieve a good time, which was 1:35, and I did it, thanks to the team.

Running with the pace team, it can feel a little bit busy at the start as a lot of people stay close to the pacers, but once you get two miles in, it spreads out and you can easily run with them.

During the race, the pacers kept telling us things in advance about what to experience on the course, such as when hills were coming up, so it was great to receive those tips during the race.

The one thing I would tell people is not to get too excited at the start because you might start too fast and run ahead of your pacer. Just trust them, stay with them, and you will get your time.

At the TCS New York City Marathon, I am looking for a time between 3:30 and 3:40—I will be using the pace team again.

Baptiste Lacarriere
Staten Island Half finish time: 1:34:31

The Team Motivated Me

One of my big goals today was to beat my personal record from the Popular Brooklyn Half. Running with the pace team was really helpful and I got the time I wanted, so I’m very happy.

When I started running, I saw the pacers in their singlets and thought it was a good idea to go with them. There’s always a group of people running with the team—all together—so that idea really motivated me.

You know there’s always someone in front of you, which helps push you on. I was able to relax on the course and I didn’t have to think about getting faster or worry about going slower—all I had to do was follow them.

With this race, I also made it into the United Airlines NYC Half in 2019, so it was a big day for me. It was my first time using pacers, but if you want to hit your time goals, use the the NYRR Pace Team [Presented by Biofreeze]. I will use them again for the United Airlines NYC Half in March.

Jaime Barrientos
Staten Island Half finish time: 1:44:16

On November 4, run with the free NYRR Pace Team Presented by Biofreeze at the TCS New York City Marathon! For more information, click here.

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