The Pacer Test


Oliver Barnfield, Cool Guy/Entertainment Editor

I stand on the line. My palms are sweaty. Then I hear it: the smooth words of an anonymous man over the loud speaker. He says: “The FitnessGram™ PACER Test is a multistage aerobic capacity test that progressively gets more difficult as it continues. The 20-meter pacer test will begin in 30 seconds. Line up at the start. The running speed starts slowly but gets faster each minute after you hear this signal. [beep] A single lap should be completed each time you hear this sound. [ding] Remember to run in a straight line, and run as long as possible. The second time you fail to complete a lap before the sound, your test is over. The test will begin on the word start. On your mark, get ready, start.”

My relationship with The Pacer Test is an interesting one. I love and hate it at the same time. It tests my limits psychically, and yet I always look forward to it. I never get a high number on it, sure, but I love it anyway. And a big part of that is the AMAZING MUSIC. I have no idea why the people who created the Pacer Test chose the music they did, but my god is it amazing and incredibly cheesy. It’s this weird 90s hip hop funk. My favorite has to be Groove Ride by Peter Stanford. Truly a beautiful piece of art. So beautiful that I always try to get out of the race before the song begins so I can just listen to it in all of its 80’s roller rink glory.

Of course, there’s also the “cool” and “swagger” Hi-Rollers, which begins the test in a hippity hoppity B-Boy style. That’s honestly the only reason I like The Pacer Test. The music is so baffling — why did they choose this weird mix of styles for their boring running test?

And that’s really why I enjoy the Pacer Test, it’s fantastically cheesy, and I love it for that. Hopefully, they never change its awful 90sness.