In short: Good course ruined by the bag retrieval In full: This was my third trip out to Reading and the first time I've ever had to queue up longer than it took me to run the race. It really took the gloss off what is a good course with lots of support. Even in the pouring rain last year there wasn't such a horrendous queue. I'll not be returning to Reading given how expensive the race entry is. Plenty of other pre-marathon halfs to choose from! Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: Great support, great medal! In full: First time at Reading for me. Was very impressed with organisation pre-race. I was in the red zone and seem to miss a lot of the problems that others had. The course was fast and after initial congestion thinned out to allow me to push on to a PB time. Loved the stadium finish and the medal is very impressive. I'd happily do this one again. Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: Still a favourite but In full: This was my 3rd Reading Half Marathon. I enjoyed the race but not the new starting procedure. I arrived at 0930 (as organisers suggest) for the scheduled race start at 1015. In the new Pink pen (at the back), I actually started at 1041. It was a long wait in biting cold with, as one competitor commented, brain-washing from a dreadfully repetitive commentary by Michele from Heart FM. Amazing, it wasn't. I also found more congestion in the initial stages of the race so for me, the new starting procedure was a flop. As ever, though, the atmosphere was very good and the people of Reading came out in droves to support the runners, even those of us down the field. It makes such a difference. Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: Good Vibes on the Course Bad Vibes in Finish Area In full: I am a big fan of this race and this was my sixth in a row. I love the course and the support and the stadium finish but post-race really is a drag - the shuffle out of the stadium is really slow but bag pick up was awful. Just when you don't need it you have to wait in incredibly long queues. I am sure logistics could be better. Altogether just getting bag and leaving car park took far longer than the race itself. I don't want to moan though because there are so many great things about this race - thank you especially to the pacers and helpers, both of whom are magnificent. And yes, overcrowding aside this is a great race for attacking your PB. Sweatshop/RHM peeps - sort out the post-race stuff out. Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: Didnt want it to end!!!!! In full: This was simply the best race I've ever done. Fantastic support, superbly organized and considering the volume of runners the volunteers did an amazing job. Only queue I had was 10mins to get my bag which is absolutely nothing when you take into account the 1500 runners taking part. Defo be back and thanks again to all the volunteers, supporters and bands that played in sections around the course really lifts you :) Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: too big and underorganised In full: well I have waited 24 hours to see if anyone will send an email apologising to the runners for piss-poor organisation, but it hasn't arrived. While I liked the course and the people of Reading were fantastic, and the stadium finish is cheesily great, plus for once plenty of loos, thanks for that...the organisation as not good at all. No coach parking for our club bus, we had to wait longer than we were supposed to for the start, the men had to queue for ages at their baggage tent while (thankfully) the ladies tent was virtually empty, But the wait for the shuttle bus - over an hour in drizzle and wind, after we have been running and we are stiffening up gee thanks! I think its just getting too big, even with staggered starts I found myself weaving around too many runners on the course. So even though the medal was lovely and the stadium finish is unique I wont do this Half again.
In short: First Half Marathon and will definitely be back next year, and great support. In full: This was my first Half Marathon and I had a wonderful time. Finished in 2:02:26 which was below my target of 2:05, but maybe could have gone faster if I wasn't dodging so many people. Bag queues were not an issue for me, as with my "slow" time and then hanging around in the stadium, by the time I got to bags I walked straight up and got mine. Also I was staying at a hotel, so can't comment on the shuttles/car park situation.
The race itself is great with some phenomenal support along parts of the course and a huge kudos to the people of Reading for coming out, and all the impromptu water and jelly babies stops en route. I'm sure if the weather had been kinder we would have seen even more. It was a great goody bag with t-shirt, snacks, drinks etc and the medal is excellent and solid.
The only downside for me was the stadium finish as the music was playing so loud you couldn't hear the crowd noise, plus you actually spend little time in there. It would be better if you could do a lap of the pitch, rather than just running down the short side.
Regardless I will definitely be back next year! Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: Let down at the end In full: I had a great time at this event. As part of a running club with a coach for all of us I was suprised the organisers wouldn't give us any form of parking permit so had to get ourselves to Reading train station to then get another bus to the stadium. If I remember correctly the stadium is a park and ride for Reading so why wouldn;t they allow any form of parking?
Race was great and very supportive and the finish was alos a lot of fun.
However the baggage area was arranged in such a way that everybody finishing at similar times had to all queue at the same tent resulting in massive lines. I waited about 30 mins to get my bag in the rain and wind. Then the queue for the buses was even worse. Didn't even make it to the front when after an hour we gave up and walked back to Reading. Took over 2 and a half hours from race finish to getting back to the station 3 miles away. Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: Fantastic course as always, followed by baggage nightmare In full: I've run Reading five times now, and there's no doubting that the course itself, the support and the pre-race organisation are all fantastic. It's a great course, not that challenging barring a couple of minor hills, and definitely has great PB potential. The support on the route is extensive throughout the race, and the water stations/lucoazade stops are plentiful.
This year was the first year that I've had to drop a bag at the baggage tent. Whilst before the race, there was no problem. Like many others with race numbers 1-5,000, I experienced the pretty terrible problems of collecting baggage. Being left out in the cold wind for 45 minutes after completing a half marathon is far from ideal. The number of people shivering, myself included, was frankly worrying. All the more baffling was the fact that the women had their own tent, which had zero queues, and numbers 5,000+, at this time, were completely empty too. I saw the queues for the buses, and decided to walk to the station, which seemingly, was just as quick.
It's a shame that such a simple thing as this can tar a really good, mass participation race, but I'll be back next year I'm sure after contacting the organiers. Hopefully without a bag! Date of review: March 3, 2014