Meet the 2022 Pacers
Updated: Apr 4
Introducing our team of motivated and exceptional pacers that will be helping runners hit their half marathon target times on Sunday 20th 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.
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….
Name: David Bartholomew
Pacer experience: Brentwood 2020 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.
Name: Jason Crispin
Club: Havering AC
Pacer experience: 2020 Brentwood Half Marathon I paced 1:40 and came in 1:39:51
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).
Name: Phil Olson
Club: Brentwood Running Club
Why did I want to be a pacer: I like to give back something to help runners.
Proudest running moment: Any club night when my group have enjoyed the session.
How to stay motivated: Make sure you set yourself realistic/achievable goals for the year.
Race day tips: Early breakfast and don't be afraid to fully warm-up before the race at least 15 mins of running and dynamic stretching.
Name: Sammo Nigh
Pacer experience: 2019 Brentwood Half 1hour 40mins.
Why did I want to be a pacer: I love helping others achieve a goal and I really enjoy the challenge of running to an exact pace. As a runner I have also found Pacers very inspiring. I really enjoyed helping in 2019 and encouraging fellow runners. I had some great chats along route and would love to return now the world is a bit more safe/normal again!
Proudest running moment: Completing the Southend Half Marathon in 1 hour 20 minutes.
How I stay motivated: I know the benefits of running are more than just physical. I find it so calming to just go and run off any stresses. I love the time to myself in my busy lifestyle.
Race day tips: Run your own race. It's not always about hitting a certain finish time. It's about running the distance.
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!
Name: Oliver Bridge
Pacer experience: Brentwood Half in 2020 for 1.50 pace
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 the London Marathon
How I stay motivated: Remember to enjoy it and don't always look at the watch
Race day tips: 'Go' before you 'go' (runners know what I mean)
Name: Andy Leonard
Club: Harold 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: I would say there are two – Completing my first Half (Southend) and completing my first Full marathon (London). On both occasions, It was remarkable to think I could run so far. London was particularly amazing as the whole experience and atmosphere was brilliant and my family was there to see at several points. Running down ‘The Mall’ at the end was fantastic.
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 5 years. I will have completed 3 (London, Berlin & NY) by this year – with 3 more to go (Chicago, Tokyo & Boston).
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!
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.
Name: Ben Whateley-Harris
Club: Brentwood Running Club
Proudest running moment: Completing the 2016 Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert.
How I stay motivated: Basically, I can’t sit still. If I am not going off to a race, I am doing some sort of fitness competition or crazy event. Keeping active and fit makes me happy.
Race day tips: Don't over think anything, don't panic and try and enjoy it. Take in the scenery as you run and never underestimate the importance of lube in the correct places!
Name: Lucy Golding
Club: Thurrock Harriers
Pacer experience: Southend Half - 1:45 pacer, Hackney half - 2:15 pacer. Paced others at Parkruns. I also attended a guide runner course so I can be a registered pacer for the visually impaired.
Why did I want to be a pacer: It’s a great half marathon with an enjoyable course. I really love helping others to achieve their running goals and would love to be able to do this at a great local half marathon.
Proudest running moment: I am most proud of breaking 20 minutes for the first time on a new years day parkrun - with sore feet and very little sleep!
How I stay motivated: I really enjoy getting out and listening to audiobooks and podcasts on easy paced runs, but my motivation for the harder stuff comes from booking in lots of races so I have something to train towards.
Race day tips: Have a target pace in mind, and utilise the pacing team where you can! I find following the back of someone's head much easier than staring at my garmin every minute... and it allows me to relax more in to the run.
Name: Tony Rawson
Club: Harold Wood Running Club
Pacer experience: I am an experienced Parkrun 5k Pacer usually finishing within seconds of my target time. Target pace for 5k is anything upwards of 25 minutes.
Why did I want to be a pacer: I am a leader and committee member at Harold Wood Running Club. I also organise and lead around 3 Coach to 5k programmes each year and, pre-Covid, I was a regular pacer at Raphael Parkrun. I do these things because I love to encourage others and help them reach their achievements.
Proudest running moment: Completing the 2021 London Marathon and Raising over £4000 for my charity.
How I stay motivated: Running helps me both mentally and physically. I go out for a chat and a gentle jog and just enjoy the run.
Race day tips: Ensure you complete your long training runs using the kit you will wear on race day and stick to your plan.
Name: Paul Smailes
Club: Havering Tri
Pacer experience: Brentwood and a few others half marathons, Parkrun.
Why did I want to be a pacer: I loved it in 2020 and 2019 and it’s great to help people get their times!