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POSTED BY Xempo Wednesday 16th March 14:20 – a new dimension to your running

A bit of background

If you’ve been at a half marathon anywhere in the south over the past few years there’s a good chance you’ll have spotted our dedicated team of pace runners.  We first were asked to provide pacers at the Ealing half marathon in 2012, then the Royal Parks and Richmond half marathons in 2013, and we quickly realised that there was a real gap in the running market for a well-organised reliable pacing resource for race directors.  Most races have to organise their own pacers, and other than the odd running magazine putting a team together, it didn’t appear that anyone was set up to help supply such a service.

So that’s when we decided to  join with our friends at Freestak (, the endurance sports marketing agency, and formed

RacePacing logo     freestak logo

Who are the pacers?
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POSTED BY admin Monday 3rd August 11:48

Xempo & Marathon Talk – a kit update

Since it’s three months since we joined with our friends at Marathon Talk to become official kit partner, it’s probably high time we provided an update as to what’s been going on behind the scenes in our commitment to supply a new range of Marathon Talk t-shirts and vests.

At the beginning of May we undertook to source a replacement for the kit deal for Marathon Talk branded running gear (that was previously supplied by Adidas).  Unfortunately it wasn’t a case of simply taking an existing stockpile of running tops and slapping a Marathon Talk logo onto them.  Rather, we offered to design and source an entirely new range of kit which was both brand new and top quality, but at a price that would be great value and comparable to anything that had come before.

That design and manufacturing process inevitably takes a bit of time to get right, so we thought we’d share with you what the process involves to give you some insight into what goes on behind the scenes, and most importantly, to give you an idea when the finished products will be available to purchase!

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POSTED BY admin Wednesday 4th February 12:28

Is early Sunday morning the best time to race?

If you value your Sunday morning lie-ins, then running probably isn’t the sport for you. Anyone who has participated in a 10k, half or full marathon has almost certainly had to do so at possibly the most anti-social and inconvenient time of the week.  ie, first thing on a Sunday morning.

We all know the drill.  When the race starts at 9am, you’ve probably got to arrive an hour or so earlier which means leaving home at about 7am.  When there is no public transport available.  So you’ve got to drive, which isn’t much help if you don’t own a car.  It also means that you can’t run in any race that is more than 50 miles away, unless you are prepared to fork out another £100 on an overnight stay.  And you’ve got to get up an hour or two before that to get your body fueled and abluted in order to be fresh and raring to go come the start line.  Which means a 5am alarm call.  Which in turn means an early-to-bed no-fun Saturday evening.  In other words, a Sunday morning race can really ruin your weekend.  How many of the 20-25% of no-shows, that every race experiences can be put down to the runner simply deciding on the morning that they can’t face getting up in the early hours and would much rather stay in bed and give it a miss?  There must be a few.

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POSTED BY admin Tuesday 11th November 16:07

Do we expect too much from running races?

Do we expect too much from running races these days?

In a recent conversation with the race director of a local club organised road race, which for over twenty years has offered the same faultlessly run event, the director was discussing how costs had increased in line with supplying the facilities to match entrant expectations to the point where “everyone now expects the London marathon every year”.

Read any race report or feedback, and participants are invited to comment on everything from the number or toilets, to the quality of the post-race medal/t-shirt/goodie bag as well as the food and drink offerings both during and after the event.  And woe betide any event that doesn’t provide plenty of everything for the minimum of cost, as social media and running forums provide a platform for vocal criticism.

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POSTED BY admin Tuesday 27th May 16:38

Should race results always be publicly available?

Is there a more sinister reason for Edinburgh marathon results to remain unpublished, other than “data protection”?

This past weekend has just seen the 12th edition of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival (although there has been an annual marathon in the city since 1982), and for the past three years, organisers GSI Events, have taken the unusual decision not to publish the results beyond the first three male and female runners in each race.

edinburgh marathon

This decision has been met with a mix of scorn, criticism and anger across social media outlets and running forums across the country, from runners who view the results list as an intrinsic part of the race package.  Many runners, particularly those seeking to race for a particular time, rather than just to complete, are interested in the results list.  They like to compare themselves to friends and clubmates, to other people in their age category, to people that they might have raced against before.  Other fans of the sport may not have run the race, but still like to look out for the names of friends and colleagues or other athletes in whose performances they have an interest.

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POSTED BY admin Wednesday 12th February 17:07

RACE SOLD OUT – What’s the solution?

Have you ever really wanted to enter a running race, only to find out that demand for places hugely outstripped supply leading to an undignified scramble to get your credit card details into the computer on the day online entry opens before the site crashes?

sold out

Are you one of the thousands who enters the ballot for the London Marathon each year, only to be disappointed a few months later when yet another rejection letter arrives?

Or perhaps as a regular runner, you get frustrated by those who enter the event you want to do, and then feel angry when those same people fail to train for it or even not turn up at all?

As big races become more popular, entries are often sold within hours of going online some six months before race day.  You often need to know your fitness, work and social plans half a year ahead in order to fit the race into your calendar.  Is it any wonder that so many people enter races, effectively gambling c.£50 on something they may or may not choose to do later in the year.  And then pull out either through unforeseen injury, or simply because their plans have changed, or even because they can no longer be bothered.  As Tony (he of “Tony’s Trials” from Marathon Talk) succintly points out this week, the fact that many races don’t allow free number swaps, then many will just enter and can afford to simply forfeit the fee if it transpires that they can’t do the event come race day for whatever reason.

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POSTED BY admin Wednesday 20th November 17:07

Want to run fast – better get Cross

Where there’s mud, there’s medals… and probably PBs!


glorious mud

glorious mud

It is that time again: dark by 5pm, cold, often raining. The leaves are falling from the trees and the Christmas ‘season’ is in full swing on the High Street. It is also the season for cross-country and we think that those of you looking for your next Xempo top, might want to consider getting stuck into this type of racing in preparation for the spring.

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POSTED BY admin Tuesday 24th September 16:31

Xempo top tips for pacing

In advance of our Xempo pacers taking to the streets of London for the Ealing half marathon and Royal Parks Foundation half marathon in the next couple of weeks, we thought we’d share with you some top tips we have gathered from our years of racing.  We hope they are of use as you chase those all important PB’s.

  1. Ensure you know your target pace before you set off [link to RW calculator] – and write this down on your wrist or download a pace band [link to RW pace bands]. Experienced runners can sometimes race ‘by feel’, but for less experienced runners, having a target pace means giving yourself the best chance of hitting your goal time.
  2. Be realistic about the pace you want to run – if your personal best time for a 10km race is 50 minutes, then a 1 hour 30 minute half marathon is probably too fast for you at this stage. Be sensible and slowly work your way up to faster times.
  3. Running an even pace is a great strategy. It is unlikely however to mean running at an even effort level. If you stick to the same pace throughout the race, it will undoubtedly feel tougher at the end than is did at the start.
  4. Allow your pace to pick up a little if there is a downhill or the wind is behind you, but not too much.
  5. By running with a group, you will benefit physically – the group will help to shield you from any headwind, which can add extra effort to your running.
  6. Running in a group can also have a psychological benefit, allowing you to simply clear your mind and cruise along at the group’s pace, without having to worry or think too much.
  7. If the pace you have picked is too slow, be prepared to adjust. If you feel as though you could go faster, pick a target ahead of you – another runner or group of runners – and wind up the pace to bridge the gap across to them. However, you should not really do this until you have passed the half way mark in your race at the very least, as you should feel strong in the early stages of the race, but running too fast too early could cause problems later on.
  8. If you think that you have gone off too fast and you are running with a group, allow yourself to drift to the back of the group and stay there, benefitting from the physical and psychological benefits of that position. Relax for a while and see if you can cover a mile or two at the same pace. If not, don’t panic. Slow down, but not dramatically, so that you are running at a more comfortable pace, without losing too much time.
  9. If you are in a pacing group led by an official pacer, be especially aware of other people around you. A big group can create chaos on a race course if the members of that group are not all aware of each other and the other runners with them.
  10. When you run with a group led by a pacer, it is not necessary to be shoulder-to-shoulder with the pacer – just make sure you keep the pacer in sight in front of you. The group will arrive at the finish line within seconds of one another and if everyone tries to run next to the pacer, the finish could be messy.
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POSTED BY admin Monday 23rd September 15:32

Xempo Performance Day Takeaway Tips #2

Improve glute strength for better running

Two weeks ago at the Xempo Performance Day [link:] our Hype-A-Runner competition winners were treated to advice from our panel of experts about many of the ways in which they can improve their running and get to the next Xempo level. In this, the second of a series of posts about what the runners heard at the Performance Day, we hear about the importance of posture and the role that the gluteus maximus plays in that.

Nick Anderson coaching session

Nick Anderson coaching session

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POSTED BY admin Tuesday 17th September 13:55

Xempo Performance Day Takeaway Tips #1

Is your training specific?

At the recent Xempo Performance Day [link:] the winners of the Hype-A-Runner competition heard from our panel of experts about a whole range of ways that they can take their running to the next level. Over the next couple of weeks we will post a few tips from the day. The first is about making your training specific.


Nick Anderson (

Nick Anderson (

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