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Meet the 2023 Pacers

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

Introducing our team of motivated and exceptional pacers that will be helping runners hit their half marathon target times on Sunday 12th March. Whether you're looking for that personal best you've been aiming for, or you just want to ensure you run a lovely even race without going off too fast and burning out with 2 miles to go, our pacers will get you round.


Click the times to read more about the pacers at your target finish time.



 



1:30

Name: Will Kirk

Why did I want to be a pacer: I’ve run Brentwood Half several times and really enjoyed it. I’d like to help others reach their targets and help support the event.

Proudest running moment: Completing the Dartmoor Discovery event, a bit hillier than Essex.

How I stay motivated: I just love the freedom of running, it’s a great way of exploring new places, and it’s always good to get outside - whatever the weather

Race day tips: Don’t try anything new on race day, from food to clothes, always try them out beforehand. And don’t go out too fast….




1:35

Name: Jason Crispin

Club: Havering AC

Why did I want to be a pacer: I ran as a pacer for the first time in 2020 and found it to be one of the most rewarding experiences as a runner I have ever felt. Being thanked by other runners as I helped them achieve a time that had been a barrier for them made me feel that I was giving something back to the sport I love.

Proudest running moment: This is a difficult one as one might say their proudest moment might be the fastest race they have run and in my 20 years of running that’s a lot of races.

I think nothing quite feels like crossing that line after completing your first marathon (2006). Knowing that after many months of training you were able to pull your body across that line in a time you were working towards.

How I stay motivated: Motivation to keep running comes down to setting goals as in-between races you can loose motivation especially after a marathon. The way I have learnt to deal with this is to take it easy for a couple of weeks and then start to think about what to aim for next.

Race day tips: Get your pace right. Run a pace you are comfortable with and have trained to run, You should have a clear goal in mind. When I decided to focus on getting my pace right for during the London marathon I was able to set 1:25 for the first half and then a 1:26 for the second half but I did stop to chat to family along the Embankment. That was the first race that I decided that I would train to a pace and stick with it no matter how many people flew past me at the start and over the following few miles, I know I might be seeing a few of them later and yep they were walking (we have all been there).



1:40

Name: David Bartholomew

Pacer experience: Brentwood 2020 and 2022 1:30, Reigate 2018 1:45, Ealing 2017 1:40, Hampton Court 2017 2:00, Ealing 2016 1:40. I’ve also paced a few marathons but not in an official capacity

Why did I want to be a pacer: I’ve benefitted from pacers myself previously and I know how important the successes earned by doing so are. In recent years to be the pacer at an event gives me chance to give something back. The feeling of satisfaction I get from doing so is incredible but it’s nothing compared to the overwhelming sense of achievement felt by the runners who I successfully help achieve their goal time. I aim to pace consistently through the distance and bring home the finish time 30 seconds ahead of goal time allowing the bubble of runners following me time to cross the line and claim their time. My time in Brentwood 2020 was 1:29:28.

Proudest running moment: To find just one moment in my running career is near impossible, so I’m going to have to go with two - sorry. Firstly, the time in May 2018 when I stepped up my ultra running to take on my first (and so far only) 100 mile event. 24hrs of non stop running (ok and a little walking) to complete the mighty Chester ultra. I did this as a challenge to myself but also to support the incredible work Cancer Research UK does for so many. The second has to be the day I applied my greatest race discipline yet in the 2019 Berlin marathon, smashing through the magic 3hr barrier and my own previous best to finish in 2hrs 53mins. This race was about complete dedication and focus before and during the race. I proved to myself again just how apt the old saying “dream, believe, achieve” is.

How I stay motivated: Most of my running is away from race days and race training. Most of my running is about the freedom it gives me. To untangle my mind, leave troubles behind and refresh my body and mind for whatever is ahead of me. Running is an escape and for me was never more so than through that first year of this pandemic. The freedom and escape it gave me got me through. Running allows us to explore ourselves, realise what we want and indeed what we can achieve. Running delivers in so many ways for our physical and mental health. It provides an incredible social community, it inspires us and when a race day arrives for us it can give us incredible highs as well as the general good feeling of well-being.

Race day tips: Race day can and does so easily go wrong. It’s exciting. We get caught up in it and if the 2022 Brentwood half marathon is a first for you I can guarantee you will get caught up in it. And that’s what it’s about. But, let’s remember whilst it might be a race, we are not professionals. This is more than trying to win because guess what, we won’t win it. It’s about the thrill of the chase and it’s about finishing proud and strong. To get to that finish line having given it your all but not burnt out before you get there remind yourself that each mile after those first few will get harder. Manage your energy reserves. Manage your excitement. That first half should feel comfortable. If you’re burning out by mile 7 you’re not going to have much fun in the second half. The first half run at a pace less than you are capable at that moment. You’ll not only manage those energy stores for later but you’ll allow your body to get into a rhythm which in itself will put less load through your system. But always run every mile with your head held high knowing you’ve got this. And you have got this. Because this is not about others, this is about you. You are your only competition.




1:45

Name: Oliver Bridge

Why did I want to be a pacer: I really enjoyed pacing last time; it was very rewarding to encourage people along the course (especially up the last hill), hearing stories of others' challenges and using my experience of over 30 half marathons to keep the group going when they found it tough.

Proudest running moment: Running a qualifying for the Chicago Marathon in Berlin - looking forward to running in the US

How I stay motivated: Not wanting to get slower - as I get older I seem to be getting more competitive or stubborn! I enjoy keeping a good level of fitness and running with friends make it even more fun

Race day tips: Enjoy it, leave a bit in the tank for the end and smile for the cameras





1:45

Name: Ross Chapelhow

Why did I want to be a pacer: I paced the 2020 event and it was definitely one of the most rewarding and enjoyable running experiences I have ever had. I hope I was able to help others reach their targets that day and it would be awesome to try to do this again!

Proudest running moment: I always used to tell people of various time milestones I had managed to break when asked this question. However having paced for the first time at the Brentwood half in 2020 I now list this as my proudest running moment.

How I stay motivated: I tend to think of getting out for a run as a blessing. It’s time for ‘me’ and so great for my health and sanity. This is usually enough motivation in itself however the promise of a favourite podcast or some music played at a completely inappropriate volume level will always get me out of the door if not.

Race day tips: My running tip for the Brentwood half is to save some energy for that hill in the last mile! But more importantly enjoy the race!





1:50

Name: Stuart Weaver

Club: Rushmere Community Runners

Pacer experience: Brentwood Half Marathon 2020. Manchester Marathon upcoming, pacing 4 hours.

Why did I want to be a pacer: I paced last time and it was wonderful to be able to help so many people achieve what they did.

Proudest running moment: I’d say that I have two proudest moments. One being my PB last year at the Chicago Marathon (3:07:01) and the other leading our One2Run5k group (beginners) at our club, through 13 weeks of a wonderful program. It was an amazing experience to see this group develop and graduate through to running comfortably.

How I stay motivated: Staying motivated it always a tough one. It’s ok to have the odd off day you know! When in a training block for a race, I try to focus on what I’m training for and why I’m doing it. When it’s tough to get out of bed or you’ve had a hard day at work, or the kids are being a ‘challenge’ – remember the end goal. I’ve completed plenty of runs that I haven’t enjoyed but I can honestly say that I’ve never regretted having gone out. On race day, believe in your training, focus on the end goal and the sense of achievement that you will feel when you cross the line.

Race day tips: Number One tip is to enjoy your run. What’s the point otherwise? Start the night before by eating well (something that you are used to) and resting up. Get up nice and early and eat a breakfast that you are used to having. Leave plenty of time to get to the race too. Once there try and relax, meet up and chat to other runners. Warm up sensibly. Go to the loo if possible.



1:50

Name: Jamie Williams

Why did I want to be a pacer: I enjoy my running and new challenges and quite often head out for runs at work, showing colleagues new routes and pacing them round, so I thought I’d give it a go in a race environment in the hope that I can help others on the day.

Proudest running moment: I’ve run the London Marathon three times for Teenage Cancer Trust in memory of my brother, raising over £16k, so achieving that through running is something I am proud of.

How I stay motivated: I find entering a race gives me good motivation to train with some structure but most importantly I feel better for going out for a run and getting some fresh air - it gives me good ‘headspace’

Race day tips: Try not to get too nervous and stress in the days leading up to race day and the morning of the race - some nerves are good but the nerves will have disappeared after 100m of running and then you’ll hopefully feel at ease and be able to enjoy the run.





1:55

Name: Ben Whateley-Harris

Club: Brentwood Running Club

Why did I want to be pacer: The Brentwood half is a fantastic local event that raises so much money for charity. Rather than just run it every year, why not help others run it and get the time they are chasing.

Proudest running moment: Completing the 2016 Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert.

How I stay motivated: I am basically trying to run away from responsibilities and the aging process.

Race day tips: Enjoy the experience. Don’t fret, worry or over think race day. Running is simple. You put one foot in front of the other and the tall skinny person always beats you. But, you are the one who finishes the race with a smile on your face.





2:00

Name: Andy Leonard

Club: Brentwood Running Club

Pacer experience: Brentwood 2020 - 2hrs, Various others across 5K, 10K and Halfs, Parkrun’s, ELVIS 10K, Formal club distance events up to 20 miles.

Why did I want to be a pacer: As a previous pacer for Brentwood, I really enjoyed being part of the event and even more so helping runners achieve their times

Proudest running moment: would say there are two – Completing my my first Full marathon (London 2017) and achieving my marathon PB (Chicago) of 3:02 this year. When I first started running, It was remarkable to think I could run so far. I’ve now done 15 marathons and countless half’s !!!!

How I stay motivated: I like to challenge myself. Once I have set a certain target time at an event I strive to beat it and train accordingly. I also ensure I put events in the diary so I know what the next target is! Another good tip is to fund raise for a charity – particularly is if you have a personal cause. But I just love getting out and having a run – I don’t think I’ll ever stop. Plus, I have a particular goal in mind – I want to complete all the Abbott Majors within the next few years. I will have completed 4 (London, Berlin & Chicago & Boston) by this year – with 2 more to go (New York & Tokyo).

Race day tips: Firstly, don’t stress, you can never predict conditions on the day so adapt accordingly. If you had a target time in mind and it’s not looking likely – then don’t worry - there will always be another event! Remember the goal is to complete – not worry about the time! Secondly, be prepared. Ensure you have all your items ready the night before and hydrate and eat accordingly. Lastly, ensure you get to an event with plenty of spare time. You don’t want to be rushing around and getting stressed. Try to enjoy the occasion!





2:00

Name: Heather Bush

Why did I want to be a pacer: I ran the Brentwood Half Marathon last year and had a brilliant time, so wanted to enable others to achieve their goals here this year! I've also benefitted from running with pacers in previous races so I know what a difference it can make to be able to run with others who can keep you on track, especially when the legs are getting tired over those last few miles!

Proudest running moment: I think it's got to be finally finishing Manchester Marathon in 2021. I was on the start line in 2019 but had to pull out at mile 8 with a calf injury which was so frustrating, so I had unfinished business! It was my fastest marathon since having my children and I was just so delighted to have completed it.

How I stay motivated: You never regret going for a run so I try to keep that in mind even when the wind is howling and its chucking it down with rain! I love the buzz of running, there's nothing better than getting home after some miles in the fresh air. I also motivate myself by having lots of colourful leggings to wear that make me smile when I get ready for a run. I will try to find some extra bright ones to wear for race day!

Race day tips: Give yourself plenty of time to get to the race start - you don't want to be stressed about dropping off bags or or not having time to queue for the loo. Make sure you have tried and tested comfortable kit too, don't test out anything new on race day. And have fun!




2:15

Name: Lorna Mess

Club: Brentwood Running Club

Why did I want to be a pacer: I applied to be a pacer because I wanted to represent and reflect the diversity in the running community. As it's my local HM I have run it a few times. It's a good challenging course.

Proudest running moment: My proudest running moment - 2022 was my year of PB's at all distances from 10k to Marathon.

How do I stay motivated: Joining a running club and finding people to run with helps. I set goals whether it be the number of miles I want to achieve or to complete a number of races in the year. Try to keep the joy in your running .

Race day tips: The week before a race try to keep the stress levels steady. Ensure you eat and sleep well. It's ok to have nerves trust in your training . Make sure you have practised with your fuelling, nothing new on race day.






2:30

Name: Paul Smailes

Why did I want to be a pacer: I like helping people to reach their goals! I've paced the Olympic park half, havering half, Brentwood and several Parkruns.

Proudest running moment: Doing 84 plus miles at the spitfire scramble

How I stay motivated: I often use music or podcasts - I enjoy using different routes and running with friends

Race day tips: Relax and trust in your training - nobody ever thinks they have done enough! Fuel your race correctly and practise you pre-race routine.


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