Keen as mustard and eager to make a name for themselves in social running circles, the PRATs put their hands up willingly.
Martin volunteered to take the 22 minute job, Chris 32 minutes and Rachel 40 minutes.
Dunc was just going to run with the dogs and the Iron Piglet, Hannah was psyching herself up for a PB effort. This was the first time that any of the PRATs had officially paced at any race and recognise how others benefit from accurate pacing having been on the receiving end of paced events. It’s not just a case of finishing at the specified time but trying to run each of the kilometres at the same pace rather than running the first 4 as fast as you can then having to walk the last one to be on time.
Ever eager for a bit of competition and the chance to win the parkrunner of the week award Martin concocted a PRATs parkrun pacing championship.
3 points awarded to the PRAT with the closest time to their pacing allocation, 2 points to the next and a consolation point for the most rubbish.
3 points would also be awarded to whoever was closest to each individual kilometre. For Martin his KM pace was 4:24, Chris 6:24 and Rach 8:00. Dunc would just be pulled along by the dogs for an easy ride and Hannah wanted to finish as quickly as possible to ensure the pick of the treat table after the run !
Pre-pre run briefings are important at Warrington, so the PRATs were asked to attend at 8:30 to be informed of their duties, responsibilities, expectations, dreams and some other things that Martin didn’t really listen to.
There had been plenty of banter about who would win the most PRAT points and as the pre run briefing and pacer role call was announced excitement mounted.
And then they were off !
Martin took off at a perfect pace and hit the first km not a second under or over his planned time of 4:24. Chris was busy trying to keep Hannah from getting too excited and going too fast but despite this finished his first km 10 ahead. Rach had overslept this morning so decided to use her slower parkrun as a chance to catch up on her emails and some social media.
The PRATs did amazing considering it was their first go and each of their km splits were pretty close to target time.
Chris managed to get Hannah to just over halfway on track for a PB but unfortunately the heat, lack of eating breakfast and ultimately turning down one of Rachel’s choc chip cookies cost her. Rach herself, was ticking along nicely and brought her km times closer and closer together but was a little disappointed at the lack of company pacing 40 minutes. She did appear elated though as she reached 2.5 km passing Martin heading back up the course for what normally would be a bum tap but today was a high 5 – purely because the PRATs are professionals and had a job to do.
And Dunc was ….. Well, Dunc !
Martin on the other hand tried his best to rally as many runners as he could encouraging them on to the finish. However, they either decided that today wasn’t the day that they could run 22 minutes or just got fed up of his motivational chanting that they dropped of the pace. He did have a nice little group trotting along during the last 5-6 minutes but it was later spotted that they all had headphones in so were immune to his now over used and worn out ‘come to the hand’ style of getting people to run fast.
Martin crossed the finish line in an unprecedented 21:52 before quickly scanning in his barcode and heading back down the course to find the other PRATs.
Next was Chris, who finished the furthest away from target time in 32:23 but still within acceptable limits.
By this time Martin had found the Iron Piglet a bit worse for wear who was unhappy he hadn’t collected a drink for her. They adopted a run/walk strategy back to the home straight where she found her second wind and took off like a rocket. This was later found to be because she couldn’t let her younger cousin who was taking part in her first event beat her so was proving a point. Rach brought the PRATs home almost on the money with a 40:14 finish time and a slightly sweaty back.
It was job done ! The PRATs had done good. Now formally recognised as a club that will do and can do by other organisations it was time to celebrate with another trip to Spoons. Due to the early time of day and that the previous meeting in Spoons for the AGM rendered 60% of the PRATs incapable of basic function the next day they all opted for breakfast and coffee – except Hannah, she’s hyper enough without caffeine.
They eagerly awaited the official parkrun results but had to leave the pub before confirmation of the championship results.
Martin was able to tally up the figures at home, with no cheating, or bias or indeed any shenanigans and the results speak for themselves. Martin owned the competition but there was nothing between Chris and Rach in joint second, except a belly full of bacon, sausage and bagels !
Oh, Daisy and Elwood also dragged Dunc over the finish line as well at some point.