In short: Bad baggage collection lets down what would be a great race In full: Good points, very generous goody bag, stadium finish, good course, well supported on course and traffic free Bad points; the baggage collection; the tannoy announcements; plenty of stewards/security rather than willing (and helpful) volunteers. I don’t know what the organisers were thinking with the horrendous baggage collection for the men. Why are their separate baggage tents for men and women? This makes no sense at all. The queues are predictable as the numbers seem to be linked to speed hence the bottlenecks. I.e the first 5000 males runners to cross the line all have to go the same tent, All the tents need to be in a line with big wide entrances so that you get the largest number of runners to the tables at once not queuing one at time. I did Cardiff half in October they used a similar format to the London a long line of trucks where runners can access maximum frontage without having to queue. They could see there was a problem (as there were vague announcements about delays) why did the organisers not talk to the baggage tents co-ordinators and move staff around to deal with the peaks. Rather than sending in the stewards to get us cold and wet runners to queue the organisers should have been sending up to the stadium or under cover to keep us warm. I tried to seek shelter when I realised the monster of a queue but was turned away from the stadium and told to walk around to where the buses where. I was tired cold to I just gave up and sat on the floor.
The changing tent was not better, muddy floor and a long walk from the kit tent. The nail in the coffin for this race was when I had got changed and was eating some hot food was the tannoy telling people to hurry up and collect their bags as they queues had now gone. I went home for fear of a serious sense of humour failure.
In short: Great support round the course but a few organisational issues In full: The race itself was fine, excellent support and results texted almost as soon as I'd finished. I guess I was lucky in that I didn't use the baggage tent and parked in the yellow car park, so avoided most of the issues others have commented on. Nevertheless, I wonder if this race is getting a bit too big? It's hard to be properly warmed up and ready to go when you have to get to the start so soon. I think the "wave start" was a good idea, but it would have been nice if they'd said who was starting when: I heard the first gun but wasn't sure if it was for just the yellow block or yellow and red until we started moving. Date of review: March 2, 2014
In short: Good atmosphere, excellent water/fuel points, speedy enough route: overall very good. In full: I did not receive my race number through the mail; on arrival I was very quickly helped with a new number. I lucked in on my baggage due to my number but I could see there was a long queue already forming in the first half of the red numbers. Great race village set up and good bag and drinks at the finish. The finish in the stadium is fantastic. Date of review: March 2, 2014
In short: Well organised and supported race but very busy after the finish In full: The race is always extremely well supported - a fair bit of it in the City Centre with crowds out to watch.
Overall it is well organised and the t-shirts in the bag were a nice addition this year. I've never left baggage at this race before and probably won't again - I could have done without the queue in the cold at the end. Date of review: March 2, 2014
In short: A decent race...brought to it's knees by the baggage 'issue' In full: Like I said, this is an OK race with good PB potential. Nice crowds, blah, blah, blah...however, I will never forget the baggage experience. Truly the worse possible finish to a race I have had in 15 years of running. Not helped by a rather chipper steward who told me that it was worse last year and I should be happy that, in essence, I only had to stand in cold wind and rain for 30 minutes...With such great choices of half-marathon's in the London area, I won't bother coming back to Reading, which is a shame as this was my 5th time. Date of review: March 2, 2014
In short: Good Race In full: Really good support most of the way round, last two miles are pretty tough as no support, but overall good race. I drove to the race (pink start) and would definitely recommend this option instead of the train/bus as no baggage to worry about. Car parks are less than 2 minutes from M4. Date of review: March 2, 2014
In short: Could have been better In full: This is the 3rd time I have run reading and I would say the most disapointing. I feel a bit guilty doing this as i'm sure the lady doing the announcing is a nice lady but she has no business announcing at a half marathon, I wished someone would turn the volume down (preferably to zero).
Other than that race itself was ok and the support was great, particularly in the town centre where it was really good.
The worst part of the day was after the race finished, we got back to our car in the red car park to be told we couldn't get out of the car park for another 40 mins. So we had to sit there for 40 mins and the queue for another 20-30 just to get onto the busy Reading roads which were completely rammed. Maybe Reading half marathon is just getting too big...
In short: Race lives up to the hype, but baggage left a sour aftertaste In full: As mentioned by almost every other reviewer, this race was pretty near perfect until the finish, where the baggage wheels came off. Concentrating on the positives, the rest of the organization was spot-on, the supporting crowds numerous and enthusiastic, and my fellow runners very chipper. Finally, the goody bag was one of the best I have received Date of review: March 2, 2014