Meet the pacer: Emma Longfellow
21 July 2022
21 July 2022
Emma Longfellow is one of our amazing volunteer pacers, who you may have seen on course at previous Yorkshire Marathon, Leeds 10K, and Leeds Half Marathon events. A member of Northern Pacing Volunteers, Leeds local Emma is also a mum of three and works for Totally Runable as a sporting mentor at various primary schools, supporting girls by building their confidence in sport.
Emma’s preferred pacing position is at the 5 hours 30-minute mark. " I enjoy getting to know people and hearing their stories. I constantly provide them moral support and reaffirm their purpose for being there. Their stories are tremendously motivational and seeing those runners through to the end justifies everything and getting those people to the end just makes it all worth it.”
Emma started her own running journey seven years ago. She had been working as a childminder for several years and was starting to feel like she had lost her identity. “Working from home, raising our family and not having much time myself.” She had enjoyed running when she was younger, but after having children, she felt like she didn’t have time to keep it up. A friend suggested she try parkrun, so Emma went along and found that she really enjoyed it and loved the massive sense of community.
After participating in a few parkruns and signing up to a local running club St Theresa’s AC, Emma quickly increased the miles. She soon realised she enjoyed the mental endurance of long-distance running, so began training for the Yorkshire Marathon.
Once she had successfully completed her first marathon, she signed up for a marathon overseas, where she ran alongside a man from the UK who had a story she was very moved by. “Sadly, his son was born stillborn and was running his first marathon in memory of his son and the hospital that helped support him and his wife,” Emma recalls.
“I ran with him for quite a long way listening to his story which was extremely emotional, and I continued to support him on his running journey helping to pass the miles and I helped him through a marathon he thought he might not finish, and it was him who gave me the nickname ‘Marathon Guardian Angel’. It was then that I realised I would like to be a pacer and help others complete their marathon journey, so I signed up to be a pacing volunteer.”
“As a long-distance runner myself, I am aware of how challenging it can be mentally. After I began pacing, I realised that helping other runners gave me a really nice sense of wellbeing as well. I enjoy assisting people in shifting their focus and thinking in order to complete their goals.”
Her number one piece of advice to the runners she’s supporting? “Keep in mind your motivation. Everyone is there for a reason, whether it's to check something off their bucket list or to run in memory of a loved one. Simply keeping that reason top of mind at all times”.
Emma is part of Northern Pacing Volunteers, which was founded by legendary runner and fundraiser Terry Midgley. “Unfortunately, he passed away 2019 but his legacy and values live on in each one of the pacers,” Emma explains. The team have thoroughly enjoyed pacing at a number of our events in recent years.
We’re so pleased that Emma will be pacing this year’s Yorkshire Marathon - we are very grateful to Emma and all the other friendly pacers out there on course, as they provide a huge amount of support to runners and help make the day so special. Thanks Emma – we’ll see you at the start line!