On September 22, 2012 I had the privilege of pacing the 3 hour group at the inaugural Big Cottonwood Half Marathon. This was an exceptionally great pacing experience and one of the reasons I opted to pace.
Met my pacing partner, Molly Bitton at the buses and got to know her. She is a kick and I had a great time pacing with her – a very positive person to be around. (Luckily – most pacers are positive).
My initial impression of this race was that it was very organized for a first year run – and this was before it even started. Bus loading and parking went well. You could see they had race banners already designed – instead of something cheap for the first year. When we got dropped at the starting line – they even had space blankets so we could pretend to be burritos and keep warm (wish St. George would consider this).
This race is basically downhill for 11+ miles, then two miles on paved trails to the finish. We had two runners hang with us most of the race. Amanda Bjarnson and Liz Wolfgramm. Amanda is/was four months pregnant and running her second half marathon. Liz is in her 60’s and had never done over 6 miles. They were celebrating the one year anniversary of her husband recovering from serious heart issues.
We actually had to hold our pace back because of the downhill. This was probably good for Liz because she knew it was going to be a struggle – but she gamely held on without complaints. Aid stations were well run. People did get a bit confused because we had marathon pacers passing us and they weren’t sure if our pace time was for the half or full. Beautiful colors in the canyon. Gorgeous day. Fun runners around us. Helping people out.
It was a joy to help Liz and Amanda finish the race. Liz was so thrilled to actually accomplish this major undertaking. I wish I could have seen her face later when she got news that she actually won her age division.
I was very impressed with this race. I’m thinking next year it would be a great race to try and PR at and maybe even break 2 hours in the half.
Race pacing is so fun. And a great way to give back to the running community.