On Sunday, May 28, 2023, Daria Bakina ran the Buffalo Half Marathon in Buffalo, New York! This race has become somewhat of a favorite for Daria. Between the marathon and half marathon offerings at this race, she’s run it four times!
Daria’s goal was the break two hours in the race. In order to help her do that, she decided to run with one of the official pace groups that was offered by the race. Pace groups are groups of runners that are targeting a specific finish time. They are led by an experienced runner (or two!) usually holding some sort of sign or marking (such as a balloon) that the group can follow. The pacer’s job is to run an even pace for the entire race so that the group finishes within a minute or so of the targeted finish time.
While pace groups are a wonderful thing, they are not infallible, as sometimes the pacers can be off in their pacing and/or something happens to the pacer that makes them unable to sustain the targeted pace (they are human, after all). For this reason, it’s important for athletes not to rely solely on pace groups for desired finish times. Instead, athletes should treat pacers like any other tool in their Athlete’s Toolbelt; use them when they are working, and be ready to switch to a different tool if they are not.
I’m so pleased to report that Daria had an excellent pacer in her pace group, that pacer helped her keep up a wonderful pace for the first part of the race, which enabled Daria to finish the Buffalo Half Marathon in 1:54:18, almost a full SIX minutes under her goal! In addition to meeting this goal, Daria also set a new personal best time for the half marathon distance, knocking down her 11-year-old previous best time by three minutes on the nose!
Coach Laura Henry
Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Long Course and Level II Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and has successfully completed NASM's Certified Personal Trainer course. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success.