In short: A very hilly half marathon In full: It is great having a half marathon in the autumn which is so easy to travel to on public transport in the London area.
Ealing is very green and it was lovely starting and finishing in the park and also running through the residential areas. As I used to live in Ealing I had to do this race.
But I had no idea parts of Ealing were so hilly. I started aching during the race. And that is why I personally wouldn't rush to sign up again. But it was a challenge and there are so many reasons why this race is great.
The organisation was excellent. Great job. Date of review: October 2, 2012
In short: Great race, shame about the admin problems In full: I love Reading half marathon. There is a great atmosphere. In the race village the organisation is fantastic. All the staff working there are incredibly polite and helpful. There are big crowds all along the route and bands playing (brass, samba, rock) which really lift the spirits.
Normally the organisation is perfect, really impeccable. This year I never received my race pack (it was never sent out) which caused me a lot of stress and anxiety. There was an unusually long queue (thousands of people long) to get on to the buses in the town and half of us couldn't get into the start pens in time for the start of the race. All very unusual and not what I've come to expect from Reading. Date of review: April 4, 2012
In short: A fantastic half marathon In full: The organisation was excellent. It was a beautiful day and there was a friendly atmosphere at the start. The guys on the PA system were very funny. I did wonder where everyone would stand had it been pouring with rain though?
There was a minutes silence for 9/11 which was very respectful. It was announced many times during the morning but some competitors were not quiet. I think this was for two reasons: the PA system wasn't loud enough. And people were excitable.
The route starts in the town and goes out into the countryside which is very very pretty. It is mainly flat although anyone who knows Chippenham knows there is a hill in the town centre.
There was more support than I expected along the route which was greatly appreciated.
I struggled in the heat. I was incredibly touched by how supportive my fellow runners were to me. I walked at some points during the race and so many people ran past me shouting words of encouragement which was very kind of them. After a hot day use of the clubhouse showers was a bonus. Marshals were great - very helpful and supportive. I can't wait for next year. Date of review: September 28, 2011
In short: Tough but I'm glad I did it In full: The start is a lot closer to the tube than I was expecting. The start is also close to the toilet building in the car park and there weren't any queues.
All the helpers were very welcoming and friendly. Marshalls on the course were very vocal and very supportive which was greatly appreciated.
This is the first race I ran without my ipod - I just fancied running in the woods and hearing the silence. And I didn't miss my ipod. I enjoyed running in the countryside, and the scenery is beautiful.
A lot of the course is shaded and on such a hot day that was very much needed. I have never stopped in a race before but the hills beat me in this race and I walked twice, at 5k and 8k. The hills are tough and a lot of hill training is required. The last 600 metres on the grass is tough. The air wasn't moving at all over that area and the heat was really intense.
This race is a challenge and I am pleased I did it. No medal but the t-shirt is great. Date of review: June 26, 2011
In short: A beautiful run by the river In full: The Hawker Centre lends itself to be a great race HQ. The route is completely delightful with about half of the race along the Thames, which is why I love this race.
I was unable to compete last year due to injury and I loved being able to take part today.
The organisation was good and the marshalls were very encouraging, all the way around the course.
Any race along the Thames is delightful and this takes in a particularly beautiful section. Date of review: June 5, 2011
In short: Delightful run around pretty Wimbledon with one massive hill In full: On the coldest day in May I can ever remember due to the strong cold wind, more shelter would have been welcomed.
The organisation was good - baggage, chips, loos all fine. The course is very pretty and takes you around the common and Wimbledon back streets. Delightful. The massive hill came earlier than I was expecting, between 5k and 6k, and is very challenging, but also very satisfying once you're at the top.
I did see one competitor who kept needlessly running on the road when the pavement was empty and I think the marshalls should have challenged him about that, just for his own safety.
And I think there should have been more marshalling near the finish line to make the route to the finish line clearer. I followed the people in front and we all went wrong and added metres and metres to the race, adding on time. I feel a bit disappointed about that even though I wasn't going to get a pb.
But I very much enjoyed the race and look forward to doing it again. Date of review: May 22, 2011
In short: A beautiful run by the river In full: The location may put off people travelling by public transport but this is in fact very easy to get to if you walk along the river which is a delightful warm up.
Staff were friendly and helpful. Organisation was fine except for that they needed more portaloos. The race started late which surprised me. But the queue was very slow moving.
It is delightful running along by the Thames and the route is really pretty. There is definite pb potential although this section of the river has a lot more gravel and uneven ground than others which does slow you down.
I very much enjoyed the race. I look forward to doing it again. Date of review: March 26, 2011
In short: Always lovely to be running by the Thames In full: This race has the most beautiful route with the majority of it along the Thames. Beautiful. It was well marshalled with nice encouragement from the marshalls.
The towpath is very busy of course, but it would be nice between 9k and 10k to be running on the same side of the towpath as the bridge exit to the final 200m of the race to finish line.
It was an extemely cold morning, and a tent / marquee or something similar for changing would be useful - it's nice to change out of sweaty running gear into dry clothes.
But in summary, I thoroughly enjoyed the morning. Date of review: March 6, 2011
In short: Hilly, but enjoyable In full: For the second year in a row this race has been held on a beautiful sunny day.
The race HQ is the fantastic K2 sports centre in Crawley. This has great facilities. It's a great feeling finishing by running around the track and sprinting. The changing rooms and showers are an excellent treat for runners.
The route is through charming woodland. I had forgotten how many hills there were, it is challenging.
The race started over 20 minutes late and in October this is too long a delay as it quickly gets cold. Your last drink, toilet stop etc will all have timed to perfection for a 10.30 start, not a hanging around until 10.55 start. This happened last year and I can't decide what I think causes it. The organisers would also do well to invest in a loud speaker. Date of review: October 17, 2010
In short: Lovely running around the common In full: As this was my first race post-injury I especially enjoyed the predominantly flat course around the common. It's a great location and even though the common is very popular and busy, other common users were not a problem at all. Surprisinly a lot of the course was in the shade which was welcome relief in the heat today.
The morning was well organised (number collection, baggage, number of toilets, marshalling). It was delightful to watch the little children take part in their race. Encouraging the little ones is very important.
I would say when plotting the course using the red and white tape it would be better for the posts to be closer together to prevent the tape being a tripping hazard etc. It was very windy and the tape was all over the place tripping people up.
Upon finishing you are presented with a medal, a bottle of water and a t-shirt. This is very very generous for a charity run I think. The charity shouldn't feel obligated. The t-shirt is great but I wouldn't have minded at all only receiving a medal and a drink. I want as much money as possible staying with the charity. They don't need to spend on these things. Although with people wearing the t-shirt it does of course raise awareness of the hospice.
I will definitely compete in this race again. Date of review: July 4, 2010