So, I’ve got pace bunnying on my mind. I’m the pace bunny coordinator for our local marathon which happens every October (http://www.pecmarathon.ca) and I’m working on filling out my roster of bunnies. I’m almost there- just looking for 1 more for the ½, and 2 more for the marathon.
I was talking to someone the other day about bunnying and she asked me why in the world I would do it. Why would I spend so much time training and then not race? The simple answer is that I do it because it’s so much fun. Racing a marathon can be kind of not fun- it hurts a lot if you’re pushing hard, but when you’re running as a pace bunny, you go at a much more comfortable pace and can appreciate everything that’s going on around you. It’s kind of like doing a long training run but instead of doing it alone, you’re running with hundreds of other people, and loads of spectators cheering you on- I can’t count how many times I’ve heard people on the side yelling “GO BUNNY!!!!” That doesn’t happen too often on training runs.
The greatest thing though is getting to be a part of someone else accomplishing their goals. It’s a really amazing feeling to get to the finish line, and have all these people come up to you and tell you that they just ran a PB, or qualified for the Boston Marathon, and that they couldn’t have done it without you. One of my most memorable experiences as a pace bunny was from the Prince Edward County ½ Marathon last year- there was a girl (18 or 19 years old) who was running her first ½ Marathon, and she stuck with me the whole way. At times she really struggled, and was almost crying, but she finished strong. As I came out of the finish chute area she came up to me to give me a hug and introduced me to her parents, and got her picture taken with me. Stuff like that is what makes it really special. I can always run another race and get another finisher medal, but to be a big part of someone else’s special moment- that’s priceless. Another great moment came this spring at the Ottawa Marathon- a woman found me at the start line, stuck right by my side through the whole race, and got her BQ, all after coming back from injury. She found me at the finish line too and was so grateful that I was there to help her hit her goal.
If you’ve run enough races to be comfortable hitting your paces, maybe give some thought to being a pace bunny- I’m positive you’ll love the experience.