In short: A good race with a great atmosphere, spoilt by dreadful organisation post race In full: This is a race I enjoy, and today I celebrated my 10th consecutive Reading Half. Early signs were good – not much of a queue to get off the motorway and into the race parking, not too much crowding getting to the stadium, and even the queues for the toilets were pretty short. The race itself was great – started 5 minutes late, but that wasn’t a problem and the new phased start did reduce congestion for the first half a mile or so (though there was a new slight hold up at one of the corners fairly early on). Music on the course was better than ever – the drummers under the underpass are always my favourite, and the church choirs, dance music and rock band performing Yes covers all added to the atmosphere. Support from the locals is also good and of all the races I do, I always think that Reading is closest in feel to the London Marathon without having to go twice the distance. Finish processing was busy but working well (I finished in 1:55, which must have been near the peak) – the disposable bib timing chips no doubt help with this – I picked up all my bits without having to wait. Then it started to go wrong.
The queues for the male baggage tents were epic. It took me 45 minutes and I think I was one of the lucky ones. This is completely unacceptable; we were all stood there in wet kit, with no dry clothing or shelter and exposed to the elements – a safety issue. For some reason, it was working fine for the ladies so I don’t know what happened. As a Race Director myself, I know the Army Cadets are great at this sort of thing so can only think the organisers made some fundamental error like allocating race numbers by predicted finish time, meaning that everyone was hitting the same area of baggage tent at the same time. On my way back to join another long queue to get out of the car park, I passed another horrific queue for the shuttle bus. All in all it took longer to collect my bag and get out of the car park than it did to complete the race. For a commercial race, organised by paid professionals that charges an entry fee higher than the London Marathon I expect more. I don’t think I’ll be back.
In short: A great new event – interesting course, well organised and a nice friendly atmosphere. In full: I particularly liked the course – flatish to start, then a fairly gentle climb to the Gibbett (apart from the last bit) then a fast (but not too steep) descent. Psychologically appealing in that most of the hard work is in the first half and as it’s mainly on country roads and gravel tracks, I wasn’t held up anywhere or hindered by the bumpy stuff. Well organised – all the bits that mattered were right. Generous goody bag and beer at the finish. Date of review: June 2, 2012
In short: Well organised, well supported, undulating jaunt In full: An impressive debut. Well organised. Well thought out route - undulating, but mainly downhill for the last few miles. Roads were mainly closed so you could take the racing line. Liked the Grizzlyesque bit through the pub. Locals were well briefed and support was good including lots of householders providing refreshing hosepipe showers. Ticked all the boxes I wanted - I'll be back next year. Date of review: October 2, 2011
In short: Great new 5 miler on the undulating country lanes around the Berkshire village of Peasemore. In full: New this year - this 5 miler is on the undulating country lanes around the beautiful Berkshire village of Peasemore. A nicely designed, well-marshalled course, good support from the crowd and excellent organisation make this one for the calendar next year. Date of review: September 9, 2007
In short: Friendly 5 miler with an interesting course - just how a small race is supposed to be In full: A very friendly race with a good mix of abilities and a varied course on the quiet roads and tracks around the village of Kintbury. Plenty of (hardy) marshals and one drinks stop, which is plenty for a 5 miler. Bargain entry free, and for that you get a medal, celebrity starter / prize giver as well as supporting a very worthy cause. This is just how a local race is supposed to be. Date of review: May 30, 2007
In short: Well organised and friendly pre-london jaunt round the Hampshire countryside In full: I did the 10 last year, and was back for the two-lapper this year. Well organised by Reading Roadrunners and the marshalls were all very friendly and enthusiastic. Sensible goody back with a mars bar, gel drink and dinky towel this year. Had excellent pre and post race massages from the team from Thames Valley Uni in return for a modest donation to their charity. Race result puplished within hours and even sent to me via an automated text message. Rain held off until I'd finished too!
Difficult to find anything to improve with this one. I guess some tyvek stips to attach the chips would avoid all the unlacing / relacing, and a bottle or pouch for at least one of the energy drinks would be good as I tend to tip the cups down my front.
I think we also ought to start a campaign to have a earth worm on the t-shirt next year - it's the unofficial course mascot! Date of review: February 25, 2007
In short: A cheeky no frills 5 miler organised by Concept Sport. In full: The first time I've done this and it's not a bad race. Start and finish at the industrial estate, with Race HQ at the nearby school. Quite a good turn out, but the route was wide enough to cope. A few very gentle ups and downs to add a bit of variety. Well organised and marshalled and started on time. I knocked 2 minutes of my pb (set on a much hillier course). Measured 5.2 miles on my Garmin, but I wasn't running the corners very tight. Water and a basic medal at the end. Date of review: January 28, 2007
In short: Friendly proper XC with a few cheeky bits. Hot soup at the end. In full: I did this last year and it's growing in popularity. Fun and well organised as I have come to expect from Tadley Runners. A great end to my 2006 racing season. Date of review: December 10, 2006
In short: Flat, well-organised and very friendly - a great marathon In full: Well organised and very friendly marathon with great support from the marshalls. Gold stars to the American guy who kept telling people how good they looked (and was suprisingly convincing) and the lady on the 10 mile drink stop who had my drink ready to hand to me as I lumbered up to the station - this was the first year I've bothered with my own drinks and I managed to find all four. Could only be improved by some sort of a goody bag at the end, and maybe some cooler t-shirts. I'm already thinking about doing it next year, and I've barely taken may trainers off so it must be pretty good! Date of review: October 22, 2006
In short: A few minor teething troubles, but an excellent first attempt at a much needed 10 mile. Roll on 2007! In full: The first one of these and I enjoyed it. It was an interesting and genuinely gently undulating course on quiet country roads. The marshalls were very supportive and I got a pb. The niggles? - well the entry form I had said a 10.30 start and it was changed to 10 (still made it to the start in time though), I only counted 2 drink stations when we were promised 3, and the time on the clock at the finish looked a bit generous to me. These are all minor points though and I'm sure all will be sorted out for next year. The event deserves more support and I'll certainly be there next year. Date of review: October 15, 2006