Runners don’t have to go it alone at the Door County Half Marathon. Krista Eliot, wife of founder David Eliot, has been leading the pace team since 2013, helping guide runners to a successful finish.
Eliot, a veteran of 40 marathons and both the New Balance and Nike pace teams, says her goal is simple.
“We’re here to help you, provide encouragement and support for runners to keep that finish goal in sight,” Eliot said.
The team is made up of two dozen experienced pacers, many of whom Eliot connected with while pacing races like the Chicago Marathon. That experience helps them keep a steady pace at anywhere from a 1:45 finish to a 2:30 finish.
For first-time runners the pacers are a huge help to stop them from going too fast out the starting gate, or from falling too far off the pace. The course is notorious for its hills, especially the climb to Sven’s bluff near mile five.
Pace team members aim to maintain their prescribed pace up the hills, but there will likely be a slower pace going uphill, and faster going downhill. They also slow or stop at aid stations, with slower pace teams taking slightly more time.
While a few select runners set out to win the race, the pace team is there to help the rest of the runners win their own best race.