Cellcom Green Bay Marathon pacer says motivation is key to finishing race

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- Cellcom Green Bay Marathon’s weekend is officially underway as thousands of runners picked up their packets at Lambeau Field ahead of the events this weekend.

Each year on this day, Action 2 News runs into people with unique marathon stories and marathon pacer Gordy McDaniel is no different.

“I pace the race every single year since the first year,” said Gordy McDaniel, a marathon pacer.

McDaniel is the one running with a sign, letting runners know that if they keep up with him, they will run the race at a certain pace.

“I am running a 5 hour pace, which is a 11:27 mile,” said McDaniel.

Part of the job is keeping that pace steady

“You can forget about your watch and settle into the race, the pacers job is to make it happen for you,” said Toni Jaeckels, Cellcom Green Bay Marathon director.

But if you ask McDaniel, he said the biggest part of the job is motivation.

“I don't know if it's fortunate or unfortunate, but I talk the entire race,” said McDaniel.

The routes may have changed over the years, but he admits his stories haven’t changed much.

“I tell them stories, probably tell them the same story unfortunately,” said McDaniel.

But he said if it worked before-- it'll probably work again.

“Sometimes when there is 3 miles to go it seems like way too far, like we are never going to make it and I am just trying to make them get to the next stop and go light,” said McDaniel.

McDaniel said it can get a little risky at times , but it's a risk he's been willing to take all 18 years.

“She said, ‘I don't feel good, I may puke on you,’ I said, ‘I am not leaving go ahead and make my day,’ and she did not puke on me and she made her time,” said McDaniel. “The ones that I pace are really more fun to see the achievement people can get and you help them to that achievement it's really really cool.”

Runners can pick up their packets on Saturday at Lambeau Field from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Prevea's health and fitness expo continues as well, with 50 booths on hand to give runners one last piece of advice before they hit the pavement Sunday morning.