Since most people only talk about the positives of pacers, I'll mention the negatives:
I used to run a steady pace but found it required a lengthy warmup which always made me feel like I was burning off valuable energy. Plus, in most HMs there's a lot of congestion in the first couple of miles. Trying to go out at race pace was frequently maddening as trying to keep the pace meant a lot of jockeying - very frustrating. I also found it hard to keep up with the pacers because they'd be jockeying too. In very congested races, I frequently hear people say they lost sight of their pacers in the first minute! (Doesn't help when the pacers are vertically-challenged.) Lastly, you may want to run through, slow down, or even walk through a water stop. You may not want to do it the same way. At some HMs, I find
Now I'll do a very brief warm up. Then I start my HMs running significantly slower than my overall pace. Congestion no longer bothers me. I don't have to jockey for position as I know I'll be passing many of these people later. After a mile or two, I'll pick it up, and then toward the middle of the race, assuming everything's feeling good, I'll run a bit faster. One benefit of this strategy is that you end up passing lots of people in the 2nd half of the race which is a wonderful boost exactly when you need it. Pace groups don't fit this model, alas.
PS: Which HM are you doing?
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