In short: Well Organised Race PB Potential In full: Great marathon, with PB potential (although we were lucky with the weather, could be tougher on windy rainy day), very well organised especially considering it was an inaugural race, would be a great addition to the annual race calendar. Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: The race itself is great but..... In full: last year and this year the queue to collect baggage was horrendous, that,s not to say the guys doing the baggage did not do a good job, they were simply overwhelmed with the amount of people taking part. It may be an idea next year to split the baggage collection into 1-5000 and 5000 ect instead of 1-10,000 to help also queuing for nearly 2 hours for a shuttle bus was not good and may have put me off returning for 2015. The positives were that the whole of Reading turns out to support as always. One of the biggest medals i have ever got and a free finishers t shirt in the goody bag. Due to the numbers taking part i would treat this as a fun event though and just enjoy the day as you cannot get a clear run-I may return but only if there are no other halfd on the same day though and the organisers respond to peoples comments regarding the horrendous bag collection queue and unacceptable wait for the shuttle buses-we,ll see. Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: Possibly too big for its own good In full: It was interesting to have run this race once for the stadium finish but, with so many other half marathons taking place in the South East in the spring, I am unlikely to run this again. I was fortunate to be able to make use of the Mizuno organised facilities so wasn't affected by the baggage problems in the main race village but the massive queues for the bus shuttle in the cold and wind were not a good end. Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: First Reading Half. Would I do it again ? Only if they sort out the post race kit pick up In full: Mt first Reading half and first mass participation race, so wasn't sure what to expect as normally only do races up to a few thousand entrants. Organisation was good at the start ( I was in the yellow zone, so had space to warm up). Course is varied with good support throughout most of it. Finish in the stadium makes it special but then things start to fall apart. Without repeating the horror stories of other kit collection comments. A simple solution to speed it up. No need to separate Men and Women kit tents (there's no changing going on). Randomise number allocation so not all the 1- 5000 runners are trying to pick up their kit from one single entry point in one of the tents. Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: Huge race, brilliant event In full: Didn't realise just how big this event was and I loved it, great atmosphere, great everything and a HUGE medal, thank you Reading. Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: No race like it In full: Tunbridge Wells Harriers continue to excel with this excellent event. Organised by runners for runners, everyone involved was super friendly and I actually welcome the earlier start which I understand was forced on the organsiers (although I appreciate this makes it more tricky for those travelling down from London) Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: Absolutely Brilliant In full: Awesome, and reading some of the picky reviews is about as irritating as reading trip advisor ! This race is massive, and that is what I love about it, so guess what I expect it to take some time to get to the race village (it actually didn't !) and I expect it to take a long time to get away after the race. I don't think there is really any alternative, there were tens of thousands of people there, and with no big city transport infrastructure to get people away it is inevitable it will take a long time. I brought a warm coat and waited an hour in good humour with the vast majority of other reasonable and grateful runners. The kit tent was not great, (I waited 25 mins) but it was no outrage either. I do find it amazing that a few people want all of the big race atmosphere and perks of such a massive race, but don't accept any of the disadvantages. Aside from the expected challenges of getting there and getting home, I thought the race was perfect, better than any I have ever done. The start was well planned, I was in the blue zone, I got there in plenty of time, easily found the right zone amongst all those people, the staggered start seemed to reduce congestion on the course, the crowds were breath taking and the atmosphere through Reading town centre was similar to a 'London' experience. The route is surprisingly scenic (except for the dual carriageway back to the stadium) and aside from the wind the course is fast. The stadium finish is my favourite part, I finished in just over 2 hours but it felt like I'd won the Olympics, and 2 strides after the finish line I received a text telling me my time (how do they do that !) the medal was huge and goody bag great, all in all, absolutely brilliant, worth every penny and more. Will be back. Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: Superb race, challenging - superb catering at the finish In full: Great race; well organised. Toughish course - hilly at times but not enough to be a real issue though. Suerb catering afterwards - I woudl say the best I've ever seen (2014 race.0 Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: Wasted Opportunities In full: Having moved from Tunbridge Wells to Berkhamsted recently, I was looking forward to my new "Home" race. Unfortunately, I think I was spoilt by the TW Half (also a Rotary Club event) as Berkhamstead couldn't live up to it.
I enjoyed the race and will do it again as it is local but think it could benefit from some bigger thinking eg.
i) T-shirts in Goody Bag- these can be charged for on entry, give everyone a souvenir of the day, promote next years race and raise more money for charity.
ii) Improved medal - disappointed with generic "school sports day" medal.
iii) More road closures along the course.
iv) £21 entry and a goody bag consisting of a bottle of water, a cereal bar, a banana and a gel doesn't fly. £24 entry in Tunbridge Wells gets you double that plus a t shirt presented by Kelly Holmes.
I don't want to sound over critical but it just seemed that the organisers were doing what they have done for the past 30 years whereas everyone (including the charities)would benefit more from some bigger thinking. Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: Great race on a challenging course, with brilliant organisation In full: Second time running this race. Loved it first time round and was worried that it might not live up to expectations second time round. I was wrong.
Hassle free pre-race, with close parking, very efficient bag drop and use of the sports hall to stay warm before heading out. Plenty of portaloos, with marshals helping to ensure the queue moved along almost at walking pace.
No messing around at the start, just a couple of announcements and off you go.
Course is a mix of town and country. Miles 3-5 feel mostly downhill, while miles 6-8 most definitely uphill. No escaping the fact that Spring Hill is very steep and very long for a road race, but it's part of what makes this race memorable.
Great support all around the course, including a few bands, and a terrific chunky medal at the end. Decent long sleeve top as well.
If you had to criticise then maybe water in bottles would be better than in cups, and the goody bag was just a couple of flyers for the race sponsors but honestly, these negatives are completely outweighed by how good everything else is.
All-in-all a fantastic race, and would recommend to anyone. Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: The race was great, pity about afterwards. In full: The weather in the morning set a great start. The line for the shuttle bus was really long but it moved pretty fast and we got to the stadium in reasonable time. The toilet queues were all pretty short and we were able to drop our bags off with no trouble. The walk to the start was fine and our pen was well managed only letting in people with red race numbers. Not sure why we started five minutes late, but telling us this when we're expecting to start meant we had warmed up too early and had to mentally prepare all over again.
Actual race was great. I found the course really enjoyable. The crowd was great. The music was fantastic. I loved the stadium finish (despite having no energy left). And only one small bottleneck. And great medal.
Then it all went wrong. I picked up my bag from the women's tent without any queue then lined up with my boyf for 45 mins waiting for his bag. In all my ten years of running races (including larger races) I have never been in a longer bag check line. And then it got worse... We lined up for the bus back to the stadium without actually knowing if it was the correct line (as there was no one around to ask or any signs). The line never seemed to end and what was most frustrating is having no idea how much longer it would take. It was getting very cold and we had been on our feet for over three hours already. When we finally got on a bus (after about one hour) I could not believe that they did not full the buses up. All seats were filled up but there was so much standing space. I am sure the people behind me would have rather got on and stood rather than continue to wait in the cold.
Great race but failed miserably post-race and so unfortunately I won't be coming back. Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: One of the highlights of my year In full: Oh dear that hill is doesn't get any easier, in fact it was harder this time round as there was a bit of a brisk breeze around the course. Marshalls excellent again and the organisation was superb. Will definitely do it again but did it have to start at 9am!! Sorry for the gripe but it was way too early. Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: Brilliant organisation and an interesting route In full: This is a brilliantly organised race which is very well-supported all the way round the course. The route is challenging due to the hills, but the pacers are excellent and are friendly and encouraging the whole way. Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: Slick, well organised with challenging hills In full: Very professional set up from start to finish. Pacers managed to bag me a PB so very pleased. Well done TW Harriers. Date of review: March 3, 2014