In short: I think this is now my favourite half marathon In full: Second time I've run Reading and I have to say I'm surpised with some of the negative comment's I've seen. Firstly my Garmin measured this as 13.1 miles. It's the same course as it has been for several years. Garmins are not 100% accurate and you add a fair bit on to a distance if not running the racing line. I do not think there is anything wrong with the distance, many many people set PB's in this race! The atmosphere for this HM is the best i've come across. This is a large race and it only gets the amount of support it does from sepctators because of the numerous runners. Yes it means a busy and crowded start but that's what you get with big races....it's a breeze compared to the London marathon start for example and not many people complain there! If you don't want crowding I would suggest you pick a local, small HM but you won't get a 10th of the support/atmosphere you get in this race. For people commenting that the stadium finish was an anti-climax...for heaven's sake, what do you want, royalty to applaud you as you cross the finish line. I guess some people are just impossible to please. I've now run 15 half marathons and i think is my favourite of them all despite never having a great running performace here. I agree that perhaps the water should be given before the medal but that is the only minor criticism I have.
I'm also very sad to hear of the death of Ged Clarke, this is a very unfortunate and tragic event and my thoughts go to his family and friends. Unfortunately nothing is without risk in this world but I hope his family can take peace in the fact he died doing something he clearly loved and had so much passion for. Fortunately these instances are very rare but as the case with a professional footballer shows, instances of this nature can happen even if you are in optimum physical condition. Date of review: April 3, 2012
In short: 3rd time was not a charm - will think long and hard about next year In full: My third time doing the Reading half and have to commend the fine people of Reading and the bands for yet again providing fantasic support on the way round... I was even tempted to pick up a free beer from the pub this time .. .but resisted ;-) I put my hand up to the rest of you for being a blue in the blue pen when, due to calf tears and colds during training, I would have been better suited to the green pen. But we all work on assumptions that training will go ok .. and I tried hard to get as far back in the pen as was possible. At least they try to segregate (unlike runs like the British 10K!) The negatives from this year were: 1 - massive administration error which resulted on us having to make a mad dash up the motorway on Saturday before the half to pick up the packs the had forgot to mail out. And the guys at venue weren't even sympathetic to the stress and inconvenience caused. 2 - I also think it maybe time to reduce numbers. Though we were running along at the same pace of most of those around us from the start, until knee trouble hit, it is just unavoidable not to start tripping over folk ... and we even had to stop at one point! 3 - definitely agree that making the water the last thing you get to pick up on exit is probably a mistake as it is so rammed it takes you a fair old time to get to it.... and I really did need it!
In short: Amazing atmosphere, PB course, shame about the distance In full: Firstly - a moment to say how sad I was to hear about the death of one of the runners after he had crossed the finish line. A tragic thing to happen & my thoughts are with his family.
The was my 13th half marathon and I loved it - the atmosphere was astonishing all around the course and hats off to the people of Reading who were out in force to support us!! From reading other people's comments, I think I was quite lucky with my experience - I didn't have to queue long for the pink car park, I didn't need to wait for a bus, the people in my starting pen all seemed to be running at about my pace, and although there were a couple of pinch points on the course (one where I actually had to stop) generally it was fine and it made such a difference to be running on a course with no traffic! The stadium finish was as good as expected, although couldn't believe we had to wait so long to get to the water at the end and after crossing the finish line there was definitely a bit of an anti-climax. Medal was the biggest I think I have, even counting my marathon medals, and I was amazed to run 1:48:08, a PB by 2 minutes, but I think because my Garmin starting bleeping mile markers earlier and earlier than the signs, I ran faster for fear of missing a PB because I just didn't know how long the course would turn out to be! Think I'll probably be back though :) Date of review: April 3, 2012
In short: Disappointing In full: I had been lead to believe so much, but on a personal level this race simply failed to deliver. The start area was a complete mess, with lots of runners starting in positions they clearly were not suited too, resulting in carnage and lots of trips and falls during the first 2-3 miles. As others have mentioned the distance seemed long, I too clocked this as being 13.3 miles. Potentially cost me a PB, as I was a minute off my best. Finish and run off area was spacious, but water as the last stop was a bad idea, needed to come first, rather than last !! This was my 10th Half Marathon, and it will be ranked as #10 on that list....I wont do it again, a lot of money, and not even a T-shirt to show for it....Rip off Britain....Rip off Reading ! Date of review: April 3, 2012
In short: Inaccurate course for anyone who wants a big pb In full: I have got to say, I was highly disappointed overall by this race, having travelled over an hour and half early morning to get to it. I was in shape to smash my pb, to be let down by the inaccurate measurements of the course. My garmin said like many others complaining of this issue - 13.28 miles which is 290m too long or over a minute worth of running. This shouldn't be allowed and knock people's confidence to want to do the race again. I certainly won't be doing it again. For those of us who are in the elite category 1 min. makes a big difference as its harder to achieve such a margin. I still got a pb by 14 seconds, but instead of clocking 1.20:04, it should have been 1.18:56, which would have gave me a pb of 1 min. 22 secs. Which is right as I was in the shape to do this time. My garmin average 6.02 per mile, and according to the course 6.09 per mile. 7 secs per mile is a big difference. You would have thought if the course was measured by a gramin it would match most people's garmins? Anyway the only positive I can say is the atmosphere was pretty good, with good encouragement from crowd, but that's what you woudl expect from such a big event. Unfortunatley won't be travelling far, to run this event again. I haven't ran a race that has lfet me feeling so disappointed after finishing it, before. Regards Mark Dowson Date of review: April 3, 2012
In short: Excellent race, great crowds! In full: Second year at Reading and as with the previous year, the crowds were amazing. It's a great route, good pb potential (although sadly not for me this year!) although it was quite crowded a lot of the way around. Felt like a lot more people running this year. Only bugbear about the course was that it was slightly longer, my garmin said 13.27!
Organisation on the day was absolutely impeccable, but they need to sort the admin team out next year as there were a load of us that did not get our race packs through, despite being assured they had been sent. To get an email at 6pm on the Friday evening admitting that they hadn't was annoying! However, like childbirth, all forgotten after the event which was superb! Date of review: April 2, 2012