With the Sage Reading Half Marathon fast approaching, a particular group of runners face the added pressure of guaranteeing to finish the race by a certain time.

Pace runners play a huge role in the run, calming runners' nerves and running with a big flag on their back to let people know that if they start with them they'll take them across the finish line in their given time.

Ali Galbraith, personal trainer and pace team manager, explained the role of pace runners.

"Basically we aim to cross the line by certain times," he said.

"So if your aim is two hours we have two-hour pace runners."

Ali, 29, has been into fitness since he was 16. In 2011 he suffered a knee injury and later ruptured his left achilles.

He said: "I was laid up for about eight months where I went through some serious low moments.

"There were times where I was asking my physio if I was ever going to walk unaided again, let alone get back to any sort of running.

"Fast forward through to some stern talks to myself and a serious amount of support through rehab and I started to get back into my running, pacing clients and friends around races.

"I found that doing this gave me so much more enjoyment to help others reach their goals than I ever got crossing the line for myself.

"I decided that I wanted to get into this properly and become an 'official pacer'.

"The more people I can help, the more enjoyment I get."

When asked what advice he would give to anyone training at this stage, Ali said: "One thing I would say is not to compare yourself to others at this time.

"As long as people are on track with their own training that's enough.

"I would say to get planning nutrition wise and and think about what to eat the night before and things like that.

"Also getting everything prepared in this time including things like foot wear."

Ali is looking forward this year's race, and reflected on the unique nature of the Reading Half Marathon.

"There aren't many races where you get to finish at a big stadium," he said.

"There's something that you can't put your finger on about it.

"The support you get at every part along the track is incredible and the amount of people that stay out there cheering people on - it is a great atmosphere.

"There's something different every time.

"It is always a nervous time as a pace runner - off days can be disappointing for anyone but as a pace runner you have a lot more pressure because you can't have an off day.

"That's why we always pace at the level that we actually run. It is exciting but can be nerve wracking too."

If you are looking to hit a personal best, join the pacers on Sunday, March 17; you are in great hands.

Sign up today at: www.readinghalfmarathon.com