In our youth, my sister and I raced NASTAR alpine ski races whenever we found a chance. The concept was simple. A pacesetter skied the race course first and then their individual handicap created a standard by which participant’s results were adjusted and awarded medals. Theoretically, the fastest pacesetter and the slowest pacesetter should create the same par due to the handicap system. A competitive skier might beat the time of a pacesetter but be awarded a silver or bronze medal after the handicap adjustment. Somewhere there is shoe box with gold medals scattered among many silver and a few bronze (platinum was not an option in our youth).
When a pacesetter is present, the ability to measure results and progress are more immediate. If we want to run a sub-three hour marathon, we can run with a pacesetter who will set a tempo that guides us towards that goal. As such, a pacesetter can provide remarkable value. Sometimes, just the presence of an individual out in front of us on a route might inspire us to endure longer or increase our pace.
Pacesetters do not need to be formal commitments. You may be creating the pace for a group of individuals (or organizations) that you may not realize. Just going out a doing the work, being present and reliable might be sustaining an entire ecosystem of participants. Continue forward, we see you out front and keep showing-up because we know you will be there.