In short: Race doesn't cater very well for stragglers like myself. Will do it next year to redeem myself! In full: My first time, and starting at the back with a delayed start meant a long run through Reading predominantly on my own. Nothing more demoralising than having the roads reopen around you and the drinks stations packing up before you got to them with no energy drink left! Thanks very much to the lady from Basingstoke kind enough to lend me her gloves for the last 3 miles. Sorry I couldn't find you at the end! Date of review: March 8, 2005
In short: Good event spoiled by unacceptable delay at start and chaotic transport at finish In full: The logistics of organising an event of 12,000 + is always going to raise some difficulties! However, since this event has been running since 1983, the bad parts of it were totally unacceptable, viz the 25 minute delay at the start in cold conditions negated stretching already done. As for the chaotic transport arrangements at the end - well! Good points, well marshalled, good drink stations and chip reception at finish. Date of review: March 8, 2005
In short: V cold, flat and great atmosphere for the first 11 miles. Got a pb too In full: I paid the extra £5 and parked at the stadium. Got there early and with hindsight this was a major blessing. Didn't enjoy the walk to the start. Army were fab at managing the baggage and chips etc. Course is great up to mile 10. Surely Reading has a better last three miles! Need to sort out the start. The race is too big for the narrow getaway and I was frozen at the start. Although the medal is a nice momento the race is poor value compared to smaller events and other larger races Plymouth, Cardiff, Bristol. Getting away afterwards was easy enough but pity the those in queues for the buses Date of review: March 8, 2005
In short: An excellent route for a good time and good for support, especially that finish in Mad Stad. Still problems with transport though both getting to the start and getting away after the event. Sort that out and it would be a fantastic event. Date of review: March 8, 2005
In short: First ever race so it has to be special BUT nothing can prepare you to wait for 2hrs in the cold just to start! Why not make better use of the fantastic stadium finish though? In full: For a first race it was always going to be special but the organisers helped make it one to remember for the wrong reasons.
The Guidelines did say that the race will not wait for the runners and Chip timing surely means that the race does not need to wait for any latecomers.
Lets hope the organisers don't try and squeeze 25,000 runners through just 2 gates out of the field next time.
Atmosphere around the town and the residential areas was great but can the last 2 miles be any bleaker particularly going away from the finish line.
Stewards and drink staff seemed excellent all the way round the course.
The approach into the stadium did seem a bit chaotic with many non-runners milling around. Tripping over dogs/prams was a definite possibility. If the stadium is to be used then lets try and give the runners their moment of glory in front of the crowd etc rather than "move along please". Finally I hope all the £5s for online booked parking spaces for a closed car park goes directly to the charities & good causes in full!! Still nothing will dampen my spirits after finishing my first ever race! Date of review: March 8, 2005
In short: Delay was unaccepable at start and the last 3 miles did not inspire my very tired legs! In full: I had no problems with the transport there or back - perhaps I was just lucky? But getting to the start in good time as instructed and then having a 25 minute delay was unacceptable.
The spectators were brilliant except there were hardly any on the last 2 miles and then when you got to the stadium you had to dodge them to run into the stadium! The last 3 miles needs to be changed! Running into the stadium there was a great atmosphere fantastic.
Need more signposts at the end - very confusing.
Where was the chocolate in the goody bag?! A maltloaf not easy to eat at the finish!
Medal was impressive again though
I will probably run it again next year but only because I live in Reading!
In short: Undulating but quick. High cost due to police charges. In full: With a double pass of the city centre in a basically hilly town, the organisers have found a quick course (2 laps), but the police charge a great deal (I happen to know). Still a brilliant day out. Date of review: March 8, 2005
In short: A very good race but some problems. In full: Dear organisers, Please sort out the last two miles of this race and you'd have an absolutely excellent course! I don't want to sound like a moaner because I greatly enjoyed the race and managed a PB but I think a couple of minor adjustments are needed which would make a massive difference. The route itself is pleasant enough and made by the excellent crowd who deserve a lot of credit for cheering us all on in very cold conditions. The major downside is the last few miles along the carrigeway and through the business park. It is SO TEDIOUS. Surely it would be possible to find another couple of miles somewhere in the town centre so you could run straight into the stadium without the awful loop? The stadium finish itself is wonderful but would be even better without the loop which is such an anti-climax after 11 enjoyable miles. A huge number of people at the end made getting to the baggage trucks a bit of a struggle but that could be resolved easily enough. It worked better than last year which was mayhem. Parking was easy enough (luckily I wasn't in the stadium which looked hellish) and the drinks stations were faultless. All in all a very good run but please organisers, change the end! Date of review: March 8, 2005
In short: Good race, which has grown too big for its boots! In full: First Reading 1/2. Good quick course (PB by 8mins+), but hopelessly overcrowded. Need to reduce the number of entries or find a wider start. Shuttle bus system pretty terrible. A later start time, say 11.30am would help. Nice finish in the stadium. Date of review: March 8, 2005
In short: Has potential to be the best half, however it is criminal to hold the start for 25mins in freezing conditions, and for marshals at the end to have no infomation about buses. In full: The size of the field makes this a great event, together with the timing in March which is ideal for pre london Marathon Training. However, this race seems fated with organisational problems. Delayed starts are now the norm, but in freezing conditions this is criminal. The bus service to the pre paid car park was good (in my case - reasonable finish time), but let down by the total lack of signposts or infomation. I asked five marshalls, and a traffic warden. None, knew where I could get the bus back to shire hall, three said that the only buses available went to the station and that I would have to walk. I eventually found the bus by trial and error. Not something you really want to do when cold and tired and when you have paid an extra £5 for the car park.
On the positive side, the support along the route both by officials and spectators was great (bar the business park).
The goodie bag is rubbish, we don't need a tee shirt or a mug, but something eddible like a couple of Mars bars would be better than a brick.
Thanks to the army running the baggage, full marks.
Unless something radical is done, this event really needs to be limited to 7000 places. Date of review: March 8, 2005
In short: Poorly organised and dull route, but some good bits too. In full: My main concern was the transfer to and from the race in the shuttle buses - like the other reviewers have said, we waited for an hour at each end in the freezing cold (very uncomfortable when you are sweaty from the race, and probably not good for the muscles or general health!). I also thought there were too many people - for the first few miles you were held up by the sheer volume of runners on the road. The route was also really dull for the last few miles which was not inspiring at all - just when you need it! Stadium finish was good but got ushered out of it so quickly I can hardly remember it! Not much in the goody bag for the amount paid for the race. BUT lovely spectators cheering us on and feeding us drinks and jelly beans, and flatish course with nice down hill bits. Date of review: March 8, 2005
In short: Well meaning organisation, but could not cope with the numbers. In full: Good flat course so a PB is a good possibility. Also good support on parts of the course. The delays before and after the race were unpleasant in the freezing conditions. Also having to walk back to Reading Station afterwards (shuttle bus nightmare) was a nasty surprise. Date of review: March 8, 2005
In short: No more people than this year please, was at it's limit as it was In full: Good PB course ruined by delayed start and runners in wrong pens. Also, new guy/gal to act as commentator. Glad I don't own a shotgun ! Date of review: March 8, 2005