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
In short: I echo everything that has been said - please change the last 3 miles... In full: Although the delay at the start wasted what I thought was a good warm up session, the friendliness of the fellow competitors kept the delay bearable (even if we were all grumbling...) Drink stations and marshalling were good as was the milage marking. On the whole a good race bar the travel problems at the start and end - but god the last 3 miles seemed to last forever - very uninspiring course at the end. Painful!! but I may be back next year. Well done to all runners who took part and battled through the cold. At least there was no snow this year. Date of review: March 8, 2005
In short: My first ever and loved it. In full: My first ever race so nothing to compare it too. The delayed start wasn't much fun in the cold but once got underway thought it was excellent - good support, plentiful drink stations, not much in the way of hills(!). Last 2 miles around Green Park were prety awful - the bands were a nice touch but shame there were no supporters - as it's so open and the wind was bitter, my legs were killing me and the stadium was tantalisingly close. Nice finishing in the stadium, but was a bit chaotic at end when trying to collect medal/etc. Nice medal though. Date of review: March 8, 2005
In short: Organisers too ambitious In full: Appalling. They said ''a fast and reliable shuttle bus service will run every 10 minutes from Reading station to the start." We arrived at Reading Station at 8:40, within the recommended time, though frankly it shouldn't have been necessary to arrive one and a half hours before the start of a race. But we did in any case, and after the depressingly long queue at the station, the standing bus journey and the walk at the other end, we arrived at the start just before 10. They said there would be a collective warm up at the start. Instead there was a twenty five minute delay during which everyone got very cold. They said, ''following the race the shuttle bus will return from the station every 10 minutes to Reading Station." They never said that we would have to queue for an hour to get on the bus or that the queue would be so long it would spill over onto the roundabout with cars having to negotiate a route round us. They said it would be well marshalled, but I saw a number of runners having to dodge out of the way of spectators crossing the road and one runner who actually collided with one such un-marshalled spectator. Plus the signposting was poor and there were no hot drinks available that I could find. Awful.
In short: Apart from delay at the start, great support, well marshalled, shame the bands were finished by the time I got to Green Park! In full: Nice medal, and good experience for my first half marathon. Date of review: March 8, 2005
In short: Liked the medal, but pricey race and organisation could be better. Last 3 miles I lost the will to run! In full: The race has pros and cons. Entry a bit steep considering what you got for your dosh and t-shirts were extra. The medal was nice. The dual carriageway bit up to Green Park and the Green Park bit had little support and it was demoralising to see runners that had already finished walking back along the route to the town centre. Nice touch to finish in the stadium in front of the stands - almost olympic feel to it. Queues for goody bag, medal etc had lots of already finished runners and supporters to weave in and out of (last thing my legs wanted to do!). Army chaps and chappesses doing the baggage lorries and chip removal were brilliant. Maybe the should take over the rest of the organising so it runs more smoothly. Very cold and after standing at the start for nearly 45 mins it took ages for my legs to get going! Sorry Reading, won't be going back! Just confirmed that large road races are not for me - will try to stick to smaller road races or multi-terrain instead! Date of review: March 8, 2005
In short: Fast, flat course, plenty of spectators, shame about the delayed start In full: Delayed start was not good in light of the cold conditions - numb toes by the time it began! Lots of spectators to keep you motivated and one of the flattest half marathon courses I've completed: you could easily get a PB at Reading. Parking not too good - took 90 minutes to get out of the Madjeski Stadium car park - could have run the race again in that time!!! Date of review: March 8, 2005
In short: chaos at the start , is there somewhere else the race could start from? good support through town ,but the last 3 miles must be the most uninspiring ever! liked the stadium finish but wish the finish had been longer [in and out of the stadi In full: um to quickly] goody bag was a joke considering amount to enter race Date of review: March 8, 2005