In short: A good race that would be great with a few tweaks In full: Firstly it's not flat, it's mainly flat! Also, a long (.5 mile?) loop around to get back the stadium is just bad planning, add a mile somewhere else, you can see the stadium 2 miles before you get there.
It took about 10 minutes to get from the finish line to the water, which must be fixed. Foil, medal, chip removal and goody bag can wait, get us the fluids!
All that said it is a good race and I felt the organization was good excepting the above points. It is big but the advantage is no problems your way to the race village, and the stations on route were all well manned with plenty of local support as well. Date of review: April 5, 2012
In short: I really enjoy everything about this race...except the last 2 miles. In full: I've lived in Reading for 25 years so I'm probably biased but this is my favourite half marathon. I know every twist and turn and I have lots of friends running or watching which helps. To be honest though, there is so much public support for the runners that I'm not sure that it mattered. The people of Reading are very encouraging and supportive.
There was a "pinch point" near the Abbey ruins and the last 2 miles is far from attractive but other than that I think it is a fabulous and well organised event.
I didn't have problems with my race pack, although the car park permit was a bit late but it still arrived in time.
Loved the Mizuno VIP lounge too !
If I can keep the fitness levels up then I'll be back next year. Date of review: April 4, 2012
In short: Great finish, fast course In full: I only found out I would be running this on the Friday before as a friend had to drop out. It was the first time I had done this race, and now that I have, I will probably be back. I really enjoyed the race due its stadium finish and PB potential.
I just wish people would be more realistic as to their times, too many where in the wrong pens, and when you have 16000 runners it really prevents a smooth race for those who are in their right areas at the start. Date of review: April 4, 2012
In short: Great race, shame about the admin problems In full: I love Reading half marathon. There is a great atmosphere. In the race village the organisation is fantastic. All the staff working there are incredibly polite and helpful. There are big crowds all along the route and bands playing (brass, samba, rock) which really lift the spirits.
Normally the organisation is perfect, really impeccable. This year I never received my race pack (it was never sent out) which caused me a lot of stress and anxiety. There was an unusually long queue (thousands of people long) to get on to the buses in the town and half of us couldn't get into the start pens in time for the start of the race. All very unusual and not what I've come to expect from Reading. Date of review: April 4, 2012
In short: Loved it In full: This was my first organised race, so I don't have a lot to compare it with, but I thought it was a brilliantly organised event, especially given the numbers involved.
The support from the people of Reading was wonderful - loads of noise and jelly babies from people lining the streets.
The only downside is the rather bleak last few miles. You leave the residential areas and head down the dual carriageway and then the evil loop, which takes you away from the stadium just as your energy levels are dropping.
However, the wonderful stadium finish really made my day - it's a fantastic experience. Date of review: April 2, 2012
In full: Had expected better. The stadium finish was good but you were in and then out of the stadium so quick, I can't remember much about it. The start was a bit chaotic, not helped by the announcer directing us where to go without giving us the important reference point of where he was... The crowd support was good when it was there, just a shame that so much of the start and especially the final 3 miles were in industrial estates or on dual carriage ways. Date of review: April 2, 2012
In short: Lacked organisation, but an uplifting finish In full: I would have to agree with other commentators that if it weren't for the stadium finish, this race would have been a waste of a Sunday. My race pack wasn't sent out, and despite checking 3-4 times wiht my charity and the organisers who had assured them that it would arrive by Friday- I still got that rather annoying email saying they had forgotten to send it out. A few uphills, and not much in the way of scenery, and I personally think it was a bit too far to the first drinks station. Also, there was far too much time at the end to get a drink, and it was very crowded- because of this delay in getting a drink at the finish, I had to sit down in the finish pen to recover. Its a shame, because I had heard such great reviews the year before, but htis is actually my first bad race experience :-( Date of review: April 2, 2012
In short: Great finish in stadium, ok course, hectic at start and finish. In full: The best bit of this race - and what sets it apart from other similar events - is the stadium finish. The course was mentally draining in places, with some nasty little inclines and little to look at towards the end of the race, with a long dual carriageway section and a horrid hairpin loop just before mile 12 that makes you feel you'll never get to the end! The start was as good as can be expected for a race with 18,000 participants, but the finish (after we'd exited the stadium) was too much of a confined area, and seemed chaotic compared to other big events I've attended. Drinks should have been handed out first - not last! Had to queue for ages to get through the silver foil handing out, chip removal, medal awarding and goody bag grabbing before we finally laid our hands on some water. Then the meeting area signs were not clear enough on exit so runners wandered aimlessly around a dusty gravelly car park. The pre-booked car parking worked well before the race but we could have done with more marshalling within the car park when we were all queuing to leave. Can't help feeling Reading bites off a little more than it can chew with 18,000 entries - maybe a lower limit would have led to a less stressful experience. Date of review: April 2, 2012
In short: fast PB course, good atmsosphere, well organised. a bit of a bootlenecki geetting to the staar, and the PA seemed confused about the start time -couldn't do the maths. Date of review: April 1, 2012