The Pace Groups at the Baltimore Marathon take pacing to a whole new level…They are among the best pace groups in the country.

Bart Yasso, the Chief Running Officer at Runner’s World


This year is the eighteenth year of pace groups at the Baltimore Marathon.  We have grown since we started in 2002 but with each year we seem to get stronger and realize more and more how important it is to have consistent pace groups.  Thanks to Corrigan Sports Enterprises, pace participants can sign-up for a complimentary pace group, receive a pace bracelet, and be led around Baltimore by experienced pacers.

The Baltimore Pacers are a wonderful group of diverse individuals who volunteer their time and commit to pacing months in advance.  Although pacing is a huge responsibility, the pacers truly enjoy giving back to the running community and take their mission of consistent pacing seriously.  Many of our pacers have paced year after year.   Since 2002, we have had one pacer pace every year.  He was a hometown pacer and then moved away to California but has returned yearly to come back to pace the Baltimore Marathon.  Keith McBride has been a wonderful leader and role model with the Baltimore Pace Team since 2002.  You will see him lead the 3:30 pace group this year.  Keith talks yearly at our pacer pasta dinner about the importance of consistent pacing.  We are grateful for Keith’s loyalty to the Baltimore Pace Team!  Though the majority of our pacers are from Maryland, we do have a good number of pacers who have learned about Baltimore Marathon pace groups and come from far various other states to pace Baltimore Marathon!

On race day when the pacers come to the start line with their pace group signs and their incredible energy, you will see experienced marathon pacers wearing their pacer shirt from 9 different states and ages from 20s to 60s.  Overall, they have completed greater than 1000 marathons!  Our pace groups are responsible for meeting a specific time goal in a consistent pace.   When you come to the start and find your pace group, every pacer is an instant friend to the pace group participants and tries to give the participant an overview of the course along with a boost of self-confidence before the race start.  During the 26.2 miles, a pacer sets a consistent pace by wearing a wristband with time splits, and a GPS and/or split watch.  Along the way the pacer makes it seem easy by talking to every person in sight, telling jokes, getting the crowd to cheer for their pace group, and if you listen closely, some pace groups give their pace participants an historic tour of the city.

While all pace groups start out with a large number of participants in the beginning, it is normal to see the pacers finish by themselves.  The most difficult part of pacing is seeing participants who signed up for the group not be able to keep up with the pacer.  Although it is sad to leave some behind, it is important for the pacers to stay focused on the pace.  Of course, it is very rewarding to see other participants leave the group because they are having a good day and finish ahead of their goal.  All of the pacers hope you decide to join one of the 11 full marathon pace groups ranging from 3:10 to 5:15.   For more information, please go to the Pace Group page on the Baltimore Marathon website.  Please look for us at the expo pace group booth to meet pacers and get your pacing questions answered.

By: Anne Lewis, Pace Group Organizer

Important Highlights about the Pace Groups:

  • Participation is free to all participants who sign up at the pre-race expo booth on Thursday 10/17/19 and Friday 10/18/19. Registration includes completing a release of liability waiver and in return you will be given a pace bib to wear on your back to help identify you to your pacers and group (if you choose). In addition, you will be given a pace bracelet (while supplies last) to alert you of your specific mile goals.
  • We will have pace groups for the following marathon times: 3:10, 3:20, 3:30, 3:40, 3:50, 4:00, 4:15, 4:30, 4:45, 5:00 and 5:15.
  • Unfortunately, we will not have pace groups for the half marathon.
  • The goal is that the Baltimore Pacers will be running “even splits,” which means that every mile will be run at approximately the same pace. Exceptions to this will be in the beginning due to the bottleneck at the start and on the miles which may be slightly hilly. Most of our pace groups will not be walking during the marathon. The pace groups from 4:00 and slower will be walking during fluid stations.
  • There will not be a Meet the Pacers Clinic this year during the Expo. However, if you would like to meet your pace group, feel free to come to the booth between 4:30-4:45 pm on Friday 10/18/19. There will be handouts at our expo booth for final marathon preparation pointers.
  • To meet up with the our pace groups on marathon day, look for us at the start, holding up large signs with the pace group finishing times printed on them, and wearing fluorescent yellow pace group shirts pace group shirts.  Meet up with your group twenty minutes before the start (7:40 a.m.).
  • Ten minutes before the start, your pacers will give their “final instructions.” This will include any adjustments being made to the pace due to course conditions, as well as the group’s plan to meet back up and keep the group together at the fluid stations. This is another great opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have!
  • Fluid station philosophy, regarding whether the pace group will walk or run through it, is up to each particular group.  The pacers will let their team know their strategy for getting back together after a water stop. The pace groups from 4:15 and slower will be walking during fluid stations. Be sure to check out the specific plan for each pace group on the pace group page of the Baltimore Marathon website.
  • We want you to run your own race. If you feel great on race day, and you want to go ahead to catch the next team, we’ll cheer you on. If it’s just not your day, slow down and wait for the next Pace Group behind to catch you. And if you want to just fall in and match strides with your Pacer, we sure will appreciate the company!
  • If you are interested in being a pacer in 2020 Baltimore Marathon, please email the pace group organizer in the month of January 2020.
  • If you have any questions, please feel free to post them on the Baltimore Pacer page which can be found at Baltimore Pacers & Friends. This will allow others to share their questions and answers. Or you may e-mail the Pace Group Organizer at [email protected].