A pacer for the people

Betsy Grewe runs for two simple reasons; meeting new people and helping them meet goals Finish Awards_KY History Half_CR AL_1609

Betsy Grewe is the KY History Half’s 2:15 pacer. So look for her on race day if you’d like to hit that time! Grewe has been pacing since 2016, and while she admits she doesn’t LOVE running in itself, she does it for the people. 

We asked her a few questions about pacing.

KHH: When and why did you start running? 

BG: I started running track in 1999 in 8th grade because my oldest sister coached, and I was looking for something to do. I ran track and cross country in high school but then stopped running in college. I picked it back up when I moved to Kentucky in 2009. I don’t care much for running itself and rarely run alone but will if necessary to ensure I hit the pace time I’ve committed to for a race. 

KHH: So why do you run!? 

BG: What I really love about running are the people I run with and the people I meet in my running adventures. Even back in school, I ran because the people I liked best ran, and that hasn’t changed. I’ll happily run just about anywhere and any distance (well maybe not more than a marathon) with my friends anytime they ask.

KHH: When did you start pacing, and why do you do it? 

BG: My first pacing gig was RunTheBluegrass in 2016. Pace leader Linda Word knew I was interested in getting into pacing, as I’m not really competitive, and the chance to meet new people and help others reach their goals really appealed to me. Having a runner – especially one I wasn’t aware was following me – walk up to me after the finish and thank me for helping them hit their time is an unbelievable, incredibly rewarding feeling. It makes running so much more to me than just another hobby.

KHH: What are your best tips for runners? 

BG: Trust your pacer and communicate with them. I know they are not all reliable but the majority of pacers are very good at what they do and that’s because they genuinely want to help. Pacers do all the thinking for you so all you have to do is follow them. If you wonder why they’re running so fast, so slow, etc. ask them. They’ll have a reason and they will happily explain it.

KHH: How do you manage to stay on pace?

BG: This is where having a well planned pacing strategy is important. A lot of runners think pacing means maintaining the same exact pace for every mile. When the course is flatter that can be a great strategy because the challenging hills aren’t there and runners know what to expect for each mile. But when pacing on a hilly course like the KY History Half, I have to run with the hills in mind and the effort they will require of my runners. Pushing too hard up a hill as well as running too quickly down a hill can easily wear a runner out, leaving them little energy to finish the course. I also check my watch A LOT against my pace band on my wrist just to ensure I’ve got my runners where they need to be at each mile throughout the race.

KHH: What helps you succeed in running and avoid injury? HH pacer

BG: Run the way that works for you, and meets the goals you have for yourself. I run because of the people. Some of my friends run to win. Many run as an outlet for daily stress. Some run farther and farther to see what they can accomplish. Just don’t run faster or farther or slower than YOU want. Running successfully only happens when you know why you’re doing it and what you want to accomplish for yourself to be happy. Once you know what you want, find people of a like mind with experience.  

And listen to your body. If you’re feeling pain or fatigue, don’t ignore it and believe it’ll just go away. Taking a few days of rest at the onset of an issue will most likely keep you from sitting out for weeks or months at a time, should that issue later become a major problem. If you’re not sure what to do, ask.


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