Meet Shafiq, your 01:40 pacer


Name: Shafiq Khan

Age: 49

Number of half marathons completed: 55

Number of half marathons paced: 36

When did you decide to become a half marathon pacer and what prompted you to take on this important role?

I’ve been running for nearly 15 years. This journey has brought me immense joy and has allowed me to attain every goal I set out to achieve. As a result of these fulfilling experiences, I’ve felt compelled to contribute to the running community, extending a hand to assist others in reaching their goals.

How do you prepare for half marathon pacing? For example, do you have to train as the other participants do?

I maintain a year-round training regimen, preparing for a series of marathon events that span the calendar. This consistent training ensures that my body remains conditioned enabling me to tackle a half marathon at the target pace time with comfort.

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

I’ve encountered numerous highs and definite lows – a shared reality among all runners. The memories of crossing the finish line of my first ever half marathon at Coniston, conquering my maiden London Marathon, and achieving the elusive sub-3-hour marathon milestone are etched forever in my mind.

Of course, there have been occasions where my aspirations for success didn’t align with reality, resulting in disappointment. The frustration that accompanies injury, sidelining me from running for extended periods, sometimes stretching into months is an undeniable challen

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

For sure! There’s definitely a sense of pressure that comes with being a pacer. The foremost step is to ensure that you can comfortably maintain the target time yourself. The primary challenge lies in upholding a consistently steady pace throughout the run. To tackle this, I rely on a pacing band that helps me monitor my time and maintain the correct pace.

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

Certainly, maintaining my ability to participate in numerous marathons and half marathons requires a comprehensive approach to body care. I incorporate a diverse range of running sessions, including regular maintenance runs, speed workouts, and essential recovery runs.

In addition, I find that supplementing my running routine with gym sessions dedicated to core strengthening proves to be beneficial. This holistic approach not only enhances my running performance but also ensures that my overall body remains in sync and well-prepared for the demands of these races.

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

My foremost piece of advice is to trust your training. Consistency in maintaining a steady pace throughout the race is key. Start off conservatively, allowing yourself to settle into a comfortable rhythm. As the race progresses, draw upon your training and gradually increase your effort, saving some energy for the final push. Mental resilience plays a crucial role – stay focused, stay positive, and embrace the challenge.