In short: 1st ever race, looking forward to doing it again. In full: Although I have been to many events in the past supporting my girlfriend, this was my first ever race. I felt the course and venue were wonderful, I was actually just 20 seconds of my PB on a treadmill!! My biggest gripe was the attitude of some of the quicker finishers, AKA running snobs. Just because you have already finished the race is that really any reason to stand in the road on the approach to the stadium and around the final turn blocking us slower runners? The running bug has bitten me; I just hope in the future there is more marshalling / barriers in the final section to stop this. Despite this, the organising was among the best at any event I have visited; it was just the execution of the plans that was slightly let down. PS I only mile markers at 1, 5 & 6. Unlike some other runners, as a beginner I need to know where I am to judge my pace. Date of review: April 10, 2006
In short: Very well organised, Nice course for a town run, Good potential for PB, two slight hills but not too bad, excellent shuttle bus service. The stadium at the end was amazing. Plenty of loos and good water stations. Will be there again next year. Date of review: April 10, 2006
In short: Yet Again the crowds were out to support the runners and for once the organisation meant they weren't waiting too long! In full: The organisation this year was brilliant. Started bang on time! loos in the main area by the stadium were plentiful but none at the actual start area at the back ... did notice some as I got the the front mind! crowd support is excellent so great for 1st timers. Yes it is expensive to enter and the goody bag isn't brilliant but it is traffic free and that would cost a lot for such a large town center. Plenty of drinks too! Well done sweatshop you got it right this time! Date of review: April 10, 2006
In short: Enjoyable race. Organisation and route much better than 2004 In full: This was the first race of the year for me. I did it once before, in 2004, which is when I set my pb. I recalled the organisation as being pretty dire on several counts, including parking and congestion. For that reason, and following advice in this year's info booklet, I arrived nice and early at a town centre car park, and caught the free shuttle bus to the start, adjacent to Reading FC's Madejski Stadium, arriving there almost 2 hours before the scheduled starting time. There were already quite a few runners there, and I passed the time wandering around the sponsors' stands, drinking free Lucozade Sport (free stuff is worth every penny! - it's a good thing there were plenty of loos!), and wondering whether to keep my tracksters and long sleeve top on, or whether to change to shorts and/or vest. It was quite chilly, but the sunshine showed promise of it warming up. The forecast said hail, though, and it started clouding over about 45 mins before the start, so decided to stick with the cold weather gear (including gloves).
The alleged 13000-or-so runners were marshalled to the start at about 9:30, where there was a massed warmup. The wheelchair race got underway at 9:55, and the run started on the dot of 10:00.
I started a good way back, and it took me 7 minutes to cross the line. No matter, though, as the race was chipped.
The course is quite good for a city race (is Reading a city these days?), with a couple of minor changes compared to last time. Very good support.
There are a couple of ascents, at roughly 2 and 7 miles, on what is otherwise a pretty flat course. To be honest, I bearly noticed these hills on this occasion, though I remembered having to work quite hard at them in 2004, when I was doing a substantially faster pace.
The last couple of miles are fairly dull scenery-wise, though there was still reasonable support. The Mad Stad comes into view at about 11 miles, which is tantalising as you have to go around a loop on a business park before the end, which takes you away from the stadium again. However, I was cruising at this stage, and the length of the busines park loop was reduced compared to last time, so this went fairly quickly. It was then just left to enter the stadium itself, and do an impressive sprint finish to the line, a third of the way around the pitch. Well, it impressed me, anyway! A great venue to finish a very enjoyable race.
The organisation at the finish was also much improved on 2004, with very little queuing for the bling bling medal, goody bag, and space blanket (and more free Lucozade!). And then straight onto a shuttle bus back to the car park.
Well done, ASICS and Sweatshop for a very well organised race Date of review: April 10, 2006
In short: Reading redeems itself.... In full: So much better than last year, the stadium is an ideal start and finish. Good drinks stations, transport provision and well designed start. Not quite sure why others thought it was hilly, there can't be many flatter races. Date of review: April 10, 2006
In short: very enjoyable - great support on the way round! In full: This is the biggest half marathon I have taken part in, and a totally different atmosphere to smaller races. I really enjoyed the support on the way round, and the face that I was always running with so many other people - it really kept me going.
I had read many negative comments about the organisation last year but everything went very smoothly - the start was on time, marshalling was very efficient and the drinks stations well-run.
The ending in the stadium was superb! Despite the large numbers of finishers everything seemed to flow through well in the channels outside the stadium, although there was potential for confusion if you weren't paying attention. Date of review: April 10, 2006
In short: Great value flat, rural Half In full: As I moved to the village last summer, I had been looking forward to a really local race. It didn't disappoint. Definite PB potential (I've not run a flatter half), half-mile markers really help pacing and I got round in a PB by over 3 minutes! Date of review: April 10, 2006
In short: Great race - so much better than last year In full: Thank you to all involved in making this a great run. The new starting location improved the race immeasurably and the whole organisation was so much slicker than previous years. Running into the Mad Stad is definitely one of the highlights of the running year! Date of review: April 10, 2006
In short: Terrific race In full: Everything about this race was so well organised, from the excellent army cadets directing cars into the car park to the cheerful marshalls (I counted three at each road crossing). The countryside was beautiful, with thatched cottages and quiet country lanes. The runners were a mixture of club runners and fun runners so there was a wonderful atmosphere. And then the medal, the hot cross bun and the pot of honey at the end with a cup of tea from the village hall. Why run the Reading 1/2 when there are races like this around? Date of review: April 10, 2006
In short: Well-organised, quick course, great finish In full: The start and finish areas were excellent, loads of toilets, good marshalling and drinks stations, decent goody bag. Although hardly mountainous, the couse was a bit hillier than expected with a few decent downhills too. Finishing in the stadium was a real highlight - plus the eight minutes off my PB! Would definitely do it again. Date of review: April 10, 2006
In short: A great race every time! In full: I love this race. It is not only my local, but also really well organised with a nice route and you get a great race souvenir! The weather was lovely again this year, a bit windy heading up towards Richmond, but not too unpleasant. I managed a respectable time considering my hangover and really enjoyed myself. The Marshalls are all very friendly as well, and in the last 3 years I have never had anything apart from a good race! Date of review: April 10, 2006
In short: Great organisation, quick course In full: The stadium's a great place to start from - used to catering for the needs of 1000s, so much better than most. Bus transfers totally efficient too, for the same reason, and it's a quick course with just a couple of short hills. Stewards were friendly and amazingly helpful, and running into the stadium at the end - albeit after a long detour *near* the stadium that they could do without - was fantastic. Date of review: April 10, 2006
In short: Used to hate this race, LOVE IT NOW!!! Beat my PB by 8 mins!!!! Lots of friendly marshalls too. In full: Ran it years ago when I wasn't fit and hated it - the towpath was almost a river in itself with all the puddles, but yesterday it was dry, sunny, and fast! Beat my PB by 8 mins, and the marshalls were great - lots of them and stopped all the traffic for us mere mortals. Thanks guys & girls Date of review: April 10, 2006