In short: Good Race - Shame about the start In full: This was my 3rd Reading Half Marathon. Unusually, the sun shone but, as ever, the people of Reading turned out in droves, making this a very special race. My one gripe was the delayed start and the instructions to people to starting arriving at 9.00am. The elite race started at 10.15 am (15 minutes late) but, for those of us in the 'Pink' pen at the back, the race did not begin until 10.50 am. That was a very long wait for people obeying orders and coming early, made more irritating by seeing other competitors wandering up towards the start much later. If I run Reading again, I will come to the start later. It is still one of my favourites, but it could be better organised at the start. By the way, I don't think 16,000 started as less than 11,000 finished. Date of review: April 4, 2016
In short: Good, but could do better In full: First of all, I hadn't had best prepared for this race, so I was here to complete the course and enjoy it. Organisation at the start was good, albeit a little walk from the village, bit of a tight start for the 10k, which meant a little run, walk and run again as we got out onto the streets. the course was lovely once you got onto the river, but it was tight with the half-marathoners coming through which made it a bit tight. the only issue I had was running around the loops of the grassy field - some of the tape was missing and meant it was difficult to follow the route - ended up taking a small diversion at one point before realising my mistake and getting back on course. Nice finish & good event village for afterwards, great idea of having a male/female changing area. Goody back was excellent with medal, tshirt and head buff & foody bits from whole foods. Date of review: April 4, 2016
In short: Highly recommended In full: loved this event, straight into my top 3. only criticism is the late start but considering there was 16,000 runners I thought the organisation was great. Date of review: April 4, 2016
In short: Undulating and Friendly..... Rubbish Medal In full: Start had a very friendly feel to it, good mix of runners of all abilities - getting tech t-shirt at the start is a nice touch. There are no flat bits to this course, you are either running uphill or down. I quite liked this route especially fast downhill finish back into Warwick which was well supported by the local people.
Only bad points where marshals (obv not volunteers - all looked uninterested throughout the course) and generic poor quality medal. Date of review: April 4, 2016
In short: Great Support But Needs To Allow For Large Numbers In full: Ran the Reading Half for the second time this year. Car parking tickets went on sale on Christmas Eve??? - a little awkward as that's when everyone is broke! I purchased a red pass, and hired a car for the weekend, bringing three other runners with me. Firstly I noticed this time that there were no sales people trying to flog expensive gadgets at this one, we organised our meeting point in the stadium, however we were ordered around a little by the marshalls in there. Walking to the start was difficult as we were held up several times on the way. Not sure what time the race actually started, but in the pink pen, we crossed the starting line at 10:45, which rivals with our 45 minute wait at the Great North! Very few toilets at the start, which resulted in having to stop during the race, as the long wait resulted in my hydrating too early! Running the race once again we had some fantastic support from the locals all around the route. A pretty big hill at around 2:45 did slow me a little, but after that the rest were gentle. Great ending with the stadium finish, the large medal, and goody bag. Unfortunately the car parking was a bit of a disaster - we were informed we could leave the car park at 2:15, however the gates were opened at 2:45, we then had a further 45 minute wait to get out of it. None of the organizers made any attempt to improve the flow of traffic out of there, and we all paid a lot of money for that! Sadly the photograpy of the event was taken over by the very expensive Marathon Foto firm, which also means no finishing video that we had from Marathon Photos a couple of years ago. £20 for a single photo or £50 for the set means no souvenir photos this time round (Shame). Date of review: April 4, 2016
In short: 2016 Review - Very enjoyable In full: Great day for race, 8-9c, windless and bright. Costa Coffee in Market Place used for registration & bag storage and seemed to work well.
Course run mainly on pavement, trails and tracks though able to run on roads in quieter areas. All decent surfaces save the muddy uphill trail during mile 9 which helped to make it the toughest part of the course. My Garmin said 430ft of elevation gain which (compared to Worksop at 600) is not that much but it is the number of short climbs especially in miles 10 and 11 that make it feel harder and broke up your rhythm. That said, I only missed a PB by 17 secs which might say more the good form I'm in rather than easiness of the course.
Scenery varied from lovely and rural to housing estates and the University.
Marshalls were all very efficient and friendly especially at the several road crossings and there was a welcoming crowd at the finish back in the Market Place.
Goody bag was a bit poor but my view of a race is not guided too much by that.
Overall, I really enjoyed it. Date of review: April 4, 2016
In short: Set a new PB so happy despite the kerfuffle with blue numbers getting to the start In full: I've run Reading Half twice before and always appreciate the big race atmosphere; the bands are superb around the course and the DJ/crowd outside Reading Church were fantastic. The route itself is fine, much prefer the new route with a mile or so around Green Park at the start so the finish takes you straight up and into the stadium - rather than the mile away and back again pre-2015! The last 5 miles are a little bit boring, lots of straight lines but as we were pushing for a PB it was probably better not to be twisting and turning. Stadium finish as always was brilliant although I can never understand why they give you a foil, medal and goodie bag before you even get near a drink of water.
The biggest issue was getting to the blue starting pen. We stood in a fairly stationary queue for a long time only to be told by a marshal at a crossing point to go back to the red & yellow starters steps as it would be much quicker. Lots of blue runners headed back only to be stopped by security who said "don't listen to the marshals"! The race booklet does actually suggest the blue numbers use those steps and they did eventually let us through after a security guard manhandled a female clubmate. Left a bad taste in the mouth but ultimately we got to the start on time as did everyone else who'd been redirected back that way! Date of review: April 4, 2016
In short: Good race, but poor starting organisation (complete with conflicting information for blue runners) In full: Having missed the 2015 run through injury, this was my first attempt at the new course, although I'd completed the previous course several times. I've never experienced such a shambles at this race before in just getting to the starting pen. After at least 20 minutes trying to get out of the complex (out of green park) I was advised to double back on myself and use the steps. Unfortunately no one had told the jobs-worth bouncers the blue runners were being given this information. The race used to start bang on 10.05 without fail, but it was nearer to 10.30. I'd been told too many people were still struggling to get into the starting pens. Disappointing start. Good race, with excellent crowd support (as usual). Slower time than hoped for though, so need to do it again next year to improve. Date of review: April 4, 2016
In short: nice race nice marshals nice weather ... a must race if you need to run 20 miles In full: I have run this race occasionally over the years (in all conditions !!) as a 'Must Do' testing 20 miler building up for a marathon. Every aspect is what you'd want in a friendly albeit hard event...traffic free road closures (from last year)...this years new path in the park at the Finish - which now makes the event 'Mud Free' :) - the race just gets better and better !! Well done Ivanhoe Runners - hard work organising but very much appreciated :) Date of review: April 4, 2016
In short: Expensive for what it was In full: Essentially a boring training run since most of the competitors and spectators disappear after the first 2 laps. Feed station with water and gatorade only. Watered down gatorated and water at the finish line. Course was about .3 miles short as well so they couldn't even get that right! They should have put the out and back turn flag for the half marathon a little further out as it seems the 5k and 10k measured dead on. Date of review: April 4, 2016
In short: First time here - and will be back In full: Positives: Generally well organised - you can tell this race has been staged many times before Great crowds - very supportive Nice atmosphere - good for first timers and the stadium finish is excellent Medal was good.
Negatives: Quite a bit of waiting around at the start - the advertised 10am start is for the wheelchair race. If you're near the back, it's likely you'll actually be starting after 10.30am The 1:35 pacer - kept him within view the whole way, gradually caught up with him and passed him with a mile to go before putting my foot down. Yet I finished in 1:36. Odd.
In short: Poorest Event I've Run In full: There are 8, 16 and 20 mile options - I ran the 20 miles. The course consists of 2 x 8 mile loops, plus an extra mini loop through houses to make up the 20. Whilst a few miles are along the river, most of the route is through housing and next to busy roads, really poor. Worst of all however is runner safety. You have to cross many roads along the route, none of which are closed to traffic. More worrying, at many places the pavement is only wide enough for two runners. Being a lap course with different start times and race distances, I was forever passing people or being passed, the only way of doing this was by jumping onto the busy road. Really, someone is going to get knocked down by a car on this one. AVOID Date of review: April 4, 2016
In short: The Wimbish 10k has great potential In full: Stunning weather made this a lovely run around the disused airfield of Debden. We were accompanied around the run by the sounds of the many skylarks resident there, making up for the somewhat dull surroundings of an ex-RAF station and lifting my scenery score from 2 to 3. It was a shame only 50 or 60 runners turned up for this inaugural race which didn't help with creating an atmosphere, but I feel the organisers hadn't put a lot of effort in advertising the event. No chip timing (presumably to keep overheads down, which is commendable given that this was a charity race) means that nearly 24 hours later I still don't know my official time. Worth pencilling in for next year. Date of review: April 4, 2016
In short: PB Potential In full: What an absolute shame that so few people turned out for the 1st ever Wimbish 10k. The weather was perfect, the course as flat as a pancake! The pathway was easily wide enough to cope with 1000 plus runners yet a very disappointing 50 runners made the effort. A medal would have been nice but you cant expect a lot for a tenner. Will definitely be taking part next year and i sincerely hope a lot more than the 50 of this year do! Date of review: April 4, 2016
In short: Friendly, challenging, great bling woodland park race. In full: Very friendly hard working dedicated team, not chip timed but this wasn't a problem, the initial start at the bottom of a hill felt like a fun run and if you was after a good tone you needed to be at the front as a bit bottle necked at the start of the hill, which I quite liked as it meant I started off slower.
This was my first marathon so I don't have much to compare it to on that front. I wasn't keen initially on a two lap course, but it worked as you knew what was coming next. If you like running through the woods this is the race for you, a few nice views if you looked hard enough but not much in terms of scenery other than trees and plains between trees. It was very much an up down marathon with very little let up so a real challenge for a novice like me. My garmin shows a max climb of about 800 feet with an overall climb and descent being pretty equal at 3500 feet.
Being such a small race just over 100 entrants in the marathon this year, it could be pretty lonely at times and I was very glad to have a running partner as by the second half all but 2 marshals (excluding aid stations) had left their posts so you really had to concentrate on where to go at times, the ribbons hanging in the trees to say you were on track were a blessing, they also sprayed arrows on the floor in addition to the main signage which was useful. Aid stations were well stocked and the marshals encouraging and friendly, but there wasn't any crowd support of such, personally I think there should have been Marshals especially on the second lap as this is where being on your own would be really hard so wouldn't recommend this race to a total novice for that reason alone, I expect as the race grew more will volunteer, I really enjoyed the half marathon front runners running past, everyone was very friendly and it had a great atmosphere.
I wore my Salomons and although the ground was hard at times I was glad of them as the rain the night before made the woodland areas pretty muddy.
The finish although not a lot of cheering at my late finish time as no spectators of such they had a band playing as you looped the finish field which I thought was a lovely and actually quite emotional touch.
Huge quality heavy medal, free photos uploaded super fast, friendly well organised staff and really yummy free food to finish plus a drink, what more could a girl ask for ?
To finish if you like running in the woods and a challenging course do it !
In short: The people make it In full: The bad bits: some iffy organisation in getting people to the right pens (esp blue numbers). Conflicting info from different stewards. I'd have preferred a tech t-shirt and slightly lower quality medal rather than the goody bag we got. With £42 entry and £20 for Park and Ride, just felt that the runners village was more aimed at selling t-shirts and relieving me of more money!
The route: some tough climbs (3 and 8 miles) for newbies or those recovering from chest infections!!
The good bits: the people. I have never seen so many people handing out their own jelly babies, drinks, plus the pub giving out glasses of beer. A really good vibe - the people of Reading were brilliant. I loved the stadium finish Date of review: April 3, 2016
In short: Wheelchair racers beware! In full: I did this in a racing wheelchair and it was pretty tough (my slowest half-marathon so far). There are some pretty brutal uphill stretches, and although it's all on roads the surface isn't great for all of it, which will slow you down a bit. Some uphills were enough to slow me right down to crawling pace (I might have been quicker getting out and dragging myself...). That said, the downhills are amazing (40km/h clocked on one!) and the last 2km are all downhill and you will feel invincible. Most importantly, the support from organisers, spectators and the other runners is superb. I was cheered on by all participants as I struggled up hills - it was a very friendly atmosphere! I'm going to do more training and then come back... Date of review: April 3, 2016
In short: my first Big organised half marathon, great support on route, fantastic finish in stadium. In full: Although the above grades are average this race is a great one, This was for me a huge leap in my running challenges, from small town 10k's to a run with thousands over a longer distance, little negatives: long time held in the pens.. although understandable for a smooth start, thought this could be helped by just letting each colour know approx time of set off?? positives: Marshalls good, support from crowds fantastic, loved having my name on number to get cheered on in those last miles. great placing of water stations.. really appreciated the water pouches.. thought they were fab, easy to hold and drink from without being to large. look forward to entering next year to improve on time. Thanks organisers. Date of review: April 3, 2016