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Some marathon racing fans have asked Athletics Illustrated if American Sara Hall is pacing The Marathon Project happening on Sunday, December 20 in Arizona.
Hall raced to a new personal best time of 2:22:01 during the 2020 London Marathon that took place in a loop at St. James Park on October 4. It is a short turnaround to her next marathon, less than three months later. Many asked if she is pacing instead of racing.
She is indeed racing again.
The same goes for Eritrean 2:08:17 marathon runner Amanuel Mesel and Jose Antonio Uribe Marino from Mexico, who is the only other sub-2:09 runner on the elite entry list as of this writing.
Women’s Pace Group 1 – Final Pace TBD. Five male pacers. The plan is to go the entire distance.
Women’s Pace Group 2 – 2:24:00 (1:12:00 at halfway). Two male pacers. The plan is to go the entire way.
Women’s Pace Group 3 – 2:29:30 (1:14:45 at halfway). Two male pacers. The plan is to go the entire way.
Men’s Pace Group 1 – 2:09:00 (1:04:30 at halfway). Two pacers. The plan is to go to 25k to 30k.
Men’s Pace Group 2 – 2:11:30 (1:05:45 at halfway) Two pacers. The plan is to go halfway to 25k.
None of the pacers are indicated on the elite entry list on The Marathon Project website.
However, a full list of all entrants — 50 women and 50 men — are listed, most from the US, and a few from Canada, Mexico and Europe.
The course is going to be fast
The Marathon Project will be taking place on a 4.3-mile (6.9km) loop on what race organisers Ben Rosario, coach of Northern Arizona Elite, and Josh Cox, agent, refer to as “some of the flattest, most pristine roads you could ever imagine.”
The run will happen at the Gila River Indian Reservation in Chandler, Arizona.
The expectation is that the men will aim for sub-2:10:00 while the women to best a 2:24:00 pace. Pacers will be provided.
“The top athletes are the priority, though depending on the field there could be additional pace groups.”
The Tokyo Olympic standards are 2:11:30 for the men and 2:29:30 for the women. The athletes that are lined up are primarily from North America.