In short: Excellent run, start wasn't as smooth as in previous years In full: This was my 5th time at Reading. It took forever to get to the starting pens and I'm not sure if that's why they delayed the start. They know how many runners there are so that isn't really an excuse. If they'd have opened the whole road leading down from the stadium, it would have eased the congestion. My only other little gripe is the length of the course. I know zig zagging adds distance but I ran 0.17 miles extra and that is a LOT of zig zagging! Several other people commented on the distance too. I missed out on sub 2 hours by 7 seconds which is really frustrating because I would have achieved it if I'd only run 13.1 miles.
The positives outweigh those little negatives though - crowd support was great, I LOVED the showers on course, the angels at miles 11-12 are a fantastic idea and the noise in the stadium was amazing! Parking in the pink car park is a doddle too! Date of review: April 5, 2016
In short: Disappointed by later start than expected having got to start line early as recommended. Otherwise, support on streets was great; free buses ideal; stadium finish lovely. Some guy in red zone dropped a phone and tried to go back! Date of review: April 5, 2016
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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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