In short: Fast course, good atmosphere and the stadium finish is awesome In full: For a large race the organisation was excellent, the crowds in Reading were great and the course was very quick despite crowding at the start. Good for a pb.
In short: I keep coming back In full: This was my third time running the Reading Half. The track is really good, you see a lot of lovely Reading town centre and the surrounding area. It only has two hills you really notice but each year I set a better time so I can't complain about those!
The organisation is second to none, any faults with space just highlight the event is that popular it's going to be hard fitting that many people in that much space. But as soon as you pass the start line then the groups split and it feels fine.
You get a lot of support going around, from additional water stations (and a beer one!) to the "unofficial" jelly baby stops, hats off to the people of Reading for really giving you the motivation to give that extra 10%.
The ending of the race is an interesting mix, what I have come to term "death highway" which is a quiet (compared to being in the town) run along the motorway at around mile 11 to seeing the stadium and then turning away for another mile slog. But the end, in the stadium, is fantastic, on a nice bit of running track where the crowds are going wild.
I would whole heartily recommend this race to anyone from those looking to dip a toe into this distance, to people who use it as a race pace test before Paris / London / Brighton marathons. Date of review: April 2, 2012
In short: Great for this first-timer; although the course measurement made the last 2 miles challenging. In full: Great atmosphere throughout the course - loads of support and bands to keep you going. Stadium finish itself was great. However the last 1.5 miles where you have to go out and back along the original starting route before entering the stadium is a big strain both physically and mentally, as you think you're almost there after getting so close the stadium!
It was busy everywhere and starting 3/4 back meant you couldn't hear the starting gun at all and wasn't announced on the tannoy that we were off. The only clue was a bit of shuffling for 15 minutes before getting to the start line. There were runners all around me all the way around, but at my pace and position not enough so you felt you were cramped or boxed in at all.
Only downside, like others have reported, was the possible extended course length. Using my time and distance device (not a Garmin but was accurate for several 10k races run leading up to this) read 22.17km. Having trained for 21.1, having to do another 1k at race pace was difficult! Date of review: April 2, 2012
In short: Fun in the Sun In full: 4th time at Reading, agree with a lot of the comments that it did seem more crowded this year, even got elbowed off the course at one point! Garmin reckoned I'd run an extra quarter of a mile, but I would put a lot of that down to zig zagging round people, which I've never really had to do at Reading before. As ever excellent support and very pleased to take over 3 mins off my PB! Date of review: April 2, 2012
In short: Great for Atmosphere, crowd support and the goody bag and medal! In full: Our thoughts and prayers go to the family of the gentlemen who passed away.
A great race which could be better if there was a smaller field. It can't cope with 16,000 runners. I was in the blue pen and it seemed a high percentage of runners had over estimated their finishing time. More marshalls along the pens perhaps to check people are in the right zone might help as we had a mixture of orange and green bib colours mixed with us. Just makes it really frustrating and lessons the chance of a pb. But that aside - the bands and the dj were just fabulous. The goodbag was great and the weather too. Date of review: April 2, 2012
In short: Well-organised, friendly event with an excellent atmosphere. Shame about the inaccurate course distance… In full: As with the previous two times I have run the Reading Half Marathon, the atmosphere really made the day. The crowds were out in force and provided no end of encouragement (especially the unofficial Jelly Baby stops).
It was exceptionally busy and the age-old problem of people vastly overestimating their finishing time meant the first two miles were spent dodging slower runners and trying to keep my pace up. It was especially annoying to see one woman walking after no more than half-a-mile with her friend cajoling her into keeping going.
The biggest issue for me (and for almost everyone else with a Garmin, so it seems) was that the course measurements were way out. My watch beeped for the first mile about 50m short of the mile marker and the gaps got greater with every mile thereafter. I know you always run a bit further than the official distance, but my Garmin had me down as travelling 13.32 miles by the end. I ended up with a PB anyway, but it would have been at least a minute quicker if the distances were accurate.
To finish on a positive, the bag collection was the most well-organised I have ever seen – massive credit to the Scouts who were spotting people’s numbers as they approached so their bags were ready and waiting. Date of review: April 2, 2012
In short: Getting better every year In full: Yes it's busy and it's difficult to overtake at times; but this year was just great - weather helped immensely, organisation is getting better every year (this is my 6th) and the crowds were brilliant (even on the bits where normally nobody cheers) - they just need to make that last viaduct/motorway section a bit more interesting... Date of review: April 2, 2012
In short: Great day out with a fantastic atmosphere made by the crowds of supporters In full: This is the largest event I have done to date and it was amazing to see how many people came out to support the runners. It was really uplifting and kept me going for a PB. The finish in the stadium was great and so were the goodie bags. I would definitely recommend it to anyone - a race to convert non-runners!
On the downside the race village was overcrowded at the start, number of runners made overtaking difficult in first half of the race and my garmin made it 13.21 miles! Date of review: April 2, 2012