Matt Scherer ()Matt Scherer () © Copyright

Bye Bye Bunny

The master rabbit and Diamond League regular Matt Scherer decided to hang up his spikes and bunny tail last month. We summed up the career of one of the world’s best pacemakers for you in numbers.

0 – The amount of hundredths of a second he missed hitting his 400m split by at the 2012 FBK Games in Hengelo, Holland. He was asked to go through half-distance in 50.50 and hit the bell in 50.50 – pacemaking perfection.

“It was an insanely busy time for me,” he says. “I’d raced eight times in about three weeks across North America, Asia and Europe. It was memorable not only because I hit the time split to the hundredth, but also because seven men in that race hit the A standard for the London Olympics and six of the seven had not hit the standard up until that point.” 

1 – The number of times the meet organisers have personally delivered carrots to the King of Rabbits.

“I must have heard a thousand times the comments about never finishing a race and the carrot and rabbit jokes. But one pretty clever joke happened earlier this year when I arrived at my hotel room ahead of the Edmonton Track Classic and the meet administrators had left a handwritten welcome note with a bag containing carrots!” 

2 – The amount of times in his career as a rabbit, his actual pace was more than a second outside the intended pace. He was 1.2 shy of the 1:55 goal for 800m set for a 1500m race in Lignano, Italy in 2012. Meanwhile, last year at an 800m race in Liege he was 1.04 slower than the 50.5 400m time requested by meet organisers.

7 – The most wins any athlete has had under the pacing of Scherer. Ethiopia’s world indoor and outdoor champion Mohammed Aman has had a lot of success chasing Scherer.

15 – The number of countries Scherer has paced in during his career across Europe, North and Central America and Asia. “One of the best things about my role is being able to take advantage of all the travel,” he says.

45 – The personal best in seconds for Scherer (45.19) over the 400m, which was his principal distance as a competitive racer before switching to pacemaking.

74 – The total number of races since 2007 Scherer has acted as a pacemaker. Note, the vast majority of these have been since 2011, and overwhelmingly the race distance has been 800m. His favourite all-time meet is the Monaco Diamond League. “The whole place is ridiculous. The meet hotel is amazing and the fans and the atmosphere is crazy.”

100 – The figure in per cent Scherer is happy with his decision to retire from pacing following his final assignment at the KBC Night of Athletics Meet in Heusden, Belgium on July 19.

“I’m happy that I completed all my goals and objectives.” He now moves on to take up a full-time position at runnerspace.com.

101 – The number of seconds (with the addition of a further 0.74) it took David Rudisha, the Kenyan Olympic champion and world record holder, to run the 800m at the 2012 New York Diamond League meeting, which is the fastest ever 800m race Scherer has paced.

Photograph: Brooks Running.