Meet Rachel, your 01:55 pacer

Rachel Alves

Number of half marathons completed: 10

Number of half marathons paced: 1

How did you become a half marathon pacer?

I have been running for just over 4 years & started pacing for 10k events last year & regularly pace for local events. I was a pacer for the HM in Manchester earlier this year – pacing has been a new challenge for me this year especially starting for HMs too. Pacers really help with my times in events & they’re an important part of races to help runners with their timing.

How do you prepare for half marathon pacing?

Yes absolutely I have to train both for half marathon distance itself and pacing practice to ensure I can be as consistent with my times & have a bit more confidence that I can support others.

What are some of the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ you have experienced in the role?

There’s nothing like just getting to the finish line yourself as a HM is still a challenge for me, it’s so nice that people will chat to you & check in on the way, and definitely the best bits are seeing friends & family cheer on route and people thanking you at the end & seeing people hit their goal times. A low is definitely when you’re tired and you know people are relying on you. The backpack and flag also are an added challenge to deal with.

Have you met any interesting people along the way?

I’ve met so many lovely people on the way, run behind bananas,

Superheroes you name it. The best bit is definitely seeing your running buddies on route & the supporters
– a wave, smile high 5 & seeing people you know are a big part of getting you through that long distance.

Do you feel any pressure being a pacer? If so, how do you manage that?

Yes I definitely feel the pressure when pacing as so many people are relying on you, particularly if you’re doing a key time. My own HM times are similar to the times I pace so every event is still a personal challenge for me.

How do you take care of your body, so that you are fit to run so many events?

I run regularly, both solo & with a local group These Mums Do & I coach at another local beginners running club MileShy which gives me a mix of training & distances. I also cycle with Zwift & a Pilates class in the week which really help since injuries. The most important thing  though is the social and emotional support surrounding yourself with people who encourage & support you and I’ve had so much of that since I started running 4 years ago & it’s that that kept me going & challenging myself.

What is your one piece of advice for someone who’s marathon target time is the one you are pacing at the Manchester Half?

Make sure you’ve trained for it – not necessarily the full HM distance or that time but get the miles in the bank to try enjoy the day. I’d also really encourage anyone to run with a friend or try a local run group, the support & encouragement really does make all the difference.

What is your experience of the Manchester Half Marathon specifically?

I have run the Manchester Half twice and my HM PB was last year October 2022. Our running group These Mums Do organised & we ran it virtually during covid as well. The event goes through where we live in Sale  so the local support here has been particularly fantastic during the Manchester Half.

When the hard work is over, what’s the best way to celebrate after an event in Manchester?

Meeting up with friends for a well earned beer or two & some medal pictures & share in their success. Because it’s such a local event for us meeting up with friends & family after the event is so easy & really important for us