Follow the person holding the balloon
You can see them from afar, they are people that are colorful like the running world – and they are doing something good. They help the participants overcomes their euphory, their weaknesses and find that extra inner spirit inside them to help them through their runs. They are the runners that have a close eye on the time. They are reliable accompanists for those wanting to reach their best times and for hobby runners alike, as well as older runners and unexperienced first timers. They are our 24 pacemakers! On their balloons as well as their vests, are the times visible 2:59, 3:14, 3:29, 3:44, 3:59, 4:14, 4:29, 4:44, 4:59 or 5:29 hours. They are different types of runners, but one thing unites them together that is that they have fun by running and are happy to help others orient themselves and accompanying them the 42.195 km into the Frankfurt Convention Center. They are there as motivators, psychologist and run at a steady pace. Many of them have been pacemakers at the running classic before – the anticipation of the mood on this Sunday morning is always something special and splendid.
Whoever stays with Ricarda and Jens, the pacemakers for the times 3 hours and 29 min. gets to meet these special marathon runners. Jens has already completed over 300 marathon and ultra-marathons and Ricarda has about 150. Both love to run the 42.195 km distance by blazing heat in faraway lands – for them the cooler temperatures in the falls is easy going. Our most loyal pacemaker is Andreas, he runs with the 3:44 balloon and is this year his 16th time in a row as friend and helper there.
Many balloon carriers say from tell from their own experience, that their job is up to the half marathon mark is to slow the runners down caught up in the euphory of the marathon – then in the second half of the run to slip into the role of speeding of the run. In addition to this many of the participants are very thankful for the tips, motivation, talks and mental support from them along the way. And the reward for the pacemakers? It is the euphoric thank you, the spontaneous hugs and the huge excitement for all of those who crossed the finish line with them and reached their goal time. For the former guest by the Frankfurt marathon and friends that met as pacemakers is Michael and Tobias your men, they’ve been doing this for 5 years now, just look for the 4:14 balloon. If you need tips for your next marathon challenge, just ask Frank (5:29). Frank complete 45 marathons in 2016 alone, that means every single weekend. Thorsten (3:59) loves to run with the balloon through his hometown – it reminds him when he also used a pacemaker “4 years ago around km 50, I was about 50 meters behind the pacemaker for 3:14. I couldn’t keep up with him or overtake him, but alone, this helped motivate me to reach a new personal best time. This motivational feeling, I want to share with and give back to the participants.”