In short: A feel-good atmosphere but there are issues! In full: I finished in my slowest ever half marathon time (an issue with my fitness, nothing to do with the course or organisation!), and inside the last 1000 finishers. So, it is difficult for me to judge if the course is fast, but it is relatively flat so I would imagine a much fitter me would have done well. Other positives, include a fantastic atmosphere from spectators around the course and plentiful drink stations (although one station did run out of water for us slowies).
Now, unlike some reviewers on here I don't enjoy moaning (!) but that is not to say there are some valid non-positive comments in the other reviews. An improvement does need to be made for next year on i) start time (organiser need to get together with Police to get the event off as scheduled, this is fundamental for a big expensive event), ii) Access to and from Runners Village,and iii) Many more Park and Ride buses (I only experienced the Odd Down P&R though, can't comment on the others). However, it is fairly clear to me that the Runners Village access is a problem caused by it's location and runner numbers (rather than organisational incompetence as suggested by many). So, the solution surely can only be a change of Start/Finish venue (Reading Half Marathon did this to eventual success, but have access to a big football stadium which is a big help!), or a reduction in runner numbers. The start and finish in the centre of historic bath is a big plus for the race so I would suggest that the organisers seriously consider a 6-7k limit instead.
My final point is on the wave-start featured at the Bath Half for the first time, and with runners setting off in predicted finish-time order at roughly two minute intervals. I really don't understand the moaning (in relation to the organisers) about this on other reviews. It has to be a good idea in principal and if people aren't honest (either to the organisers or with themsleves) when they put down their predicted finish time how is that the fault of the organisers???? Date of review: March 15, 2009
In short: Organisers That Listen Shock! In full: This is my local race (I live 1 mile from the start line!) and have ran it 9 or 10 times. Last year, I (along with many others) had quite a few grumbles about the organisation of the Reading Half Marathon. Well, the organisers (Sweatshop) appear to have listened to each gripe and actually done something about it, so hats off to them!! The start was moved (a forced move to some degree I think due to building work on the old start site) and the start went smoother as a result. Loads of toilets at the start, and generally well organised at the start area with a delay of only 1 or 2 minutes compared with last years 40 minute hold up. The course was tweaked as a result of the different start and resulted in a smoother run I thought. At the end, there was also a slight change in the finish area with a differenet entrance used to the Madejski Stadium finish line. This was a great move, resulting in a less confused and more fluid route out of the finish area. Overall, good work sweatshop - my lack of decent training for the event meant that this was my slowest ever half marathon time but was actually probably one of the most enjoyable!! Date of review: April 11, 2006
In short: Delays to the start happen too often at this race and current course includes a finish area which is too small causing organisational difficulties for the mass finishers. Finishing in the stadium is great but is not quite enough. In full: If the race wasn't my local (practicaly a fall out of bed to the start!), I probably wouldn't bother. The delay at the start is forgivable once but happens too often at Reading. Organisation at the finish area was an improvement on last year (not saying much!) but still woeful. Basically, the field needs to be reduced or a more spacious finish area needs to be found (although finishing in the stadium is probably the one major highlight). Not wanting to be a complete moaner about my home town race, one other plus point was the improved toilet provision at start. In terms of a running experience it is as poor as the Great North Run at the moment (in terms of delays, transport problems, overcrowded running area etc..), but doesn't have the atmosphere of the Newcastle race to make up for it. Date of review: March 6, 2005