Nearly two weeks after running a marathon, with only one 3-mile run in between, today I ran my second fastest half-marathon ever (2:00.34).  

This came as an absolute surprise because when I did my 3-mile run just two days ago, I felt very winded and out of shape! 

There is no doubt in my mind that I would have finished the half-marathon in a much slower time if it were not for Gary - "The Pacer" for the 2-Hour Half-Marathon. 

Here's a few quick lessons I learned about "pacers" by sticking behind Gary this morning:

  1. Pacers push you to keep a pace you don't even know you are capable of.
  2. Pacers force you to stay within your pace even though you think you are capable of more.
  3. Pacers provide a reference point for where you need to be if/when you fall behind.
  4. Pacers help you focus on your pace and not the pace of others.
  5. Pacers inspire you by their commitment to finish their race. 
  6. Pacers encourage you along the way. 
  7. Pacers congratulate you in the end!

Because following Gary proved to be so effective in helping me run a race in a time I didn't think I had in me, I am convinced, more than ever before, that we need "pacers" in other areas of our lives as well. 

Who is your "marriage pacer?" Mine is my mom and dad. 

Who is your "vocational pacer?" Mine are pastors like Paul McGovern, Andy Wood, Ben Pilgreen, and Ryan Kwon. 

Who is your "health pacer?" Mine are guys like my dad and Rich Johnstone. 

Who is your "leadership pacer?" Mine are leaders like Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, and Craig Groeschel. 

Find some "pacers."  Be a "pacer."

Because at the end of the day that's what leadership is: pace-setting.