In short: Really enjoyed it this year! In full: I had an awful time at Reading last year. I didn't think the organisation for 08 was that great - which was a shame as when I ran in 07 and 06 it was like clockwork. In 2008 they ran out of energy drink, goody bags and medals (I got a medal, but only just). I wrote to the race organisers and complained and the race director emailed me personally and offered me a free slot in the 2009 race. I was impressed with this response and really impressed with the organisation this year. It was crowded in places but as far as I know, nothing ran out, the goody bag was fab (my first Mars Bar in years, two cereal bars and crisps), great medal and well stocked, friendly drinks stations. Last year something went badly wrong and it took me 2.37.11 to get round (a PW by some distance) but this year I managed a new PB of 2.11.31. Yay!
Good race, good support, well-organised (if a little busy) and will I do it again? Yep! Date of review: March 29, 2009
In short: Fast, friendly Fleet! In full: What a fabulous race that was. Amazing weather, and I got a PB by about 13 minutes! Great support and organisation like clockwork - HUGE thanks to everyone involved. I am very proud to be sort of local! Thank you. Date of review: March 15, 2009
In short: Huge disappointment this year - more people and less organisation. In full: This was my third consecutive Reading Half. The first two I enjoyed tremendously. I am not a fast runner (my PB is 2.26) but I used to think that Reading catered for everyone, that you didn't feel out of place if you were slow.
This year that opinion has totally reversed. Not only was there no energy drink AT ALL left for us plodders, but some of us didn't get goody bags either, or Lucozade at the end (which we have had in previous years). What is absolutely disgraceful, though, is that some poor runners did not get medals either. The lady who gave me mine had none left after mine so I was very lucky. But it shouldn't be that way ... you've run 13.1 miles whether it takes you three hours or an hour. I came away feeling that Reading HM didn't value us slower runners as much. Very unsure about whether I will do this again. Date of review: March 3, 2008
In short: The infrastructure cannot cope... In full: This was my first GSR, but not my first race. I don't think I'll be doing it again because although I enjoyed the race itself - hellish final two miles in a freezing cold wind tunnel aside - I don't think it was worth all the hassle and waiting in attempting to get home afterwards.
It took us under an hour to get there, and nearly four hours to get back. Nuff said...
I know that they warned that "some" delay would be inevitable but I did not expect to sit in the car park for two hours, especially as I was paying for a "professionally managed car parking experience" or some such.
Kudos and big thanks to the people who came out to support us - it was REALLY appreciated - but long stretches of the race were very lonely. That's down to the weather, I suspect, and nobody's fault.
The Nike Powersong speakers were fantastic - they gave a real boost during the most difficult phase - but the signposting at the finish was poor. The organisers told us to meet friends and family at a special alphabetically-organised meeting point but it wasn't signposted at all from the finish and it took me nearly half an hour to find it, whilst my boyfriend was waiting in the rain. Not good.
I'm not going to complain about getting a dry t-shirt at the end of the race but really, the goody bag was also a bit of a disappointment. Omega 3 capsules? I'd rather have a bag of nuts!
I've mixed feelings about this race - I love the fact that it encourages people of all abilities, but I don't think the wave start worked. I'm a slow runner but I do run and the green wave, which I was in the middle off, was completely clogged up with walkers and I could not run properly for the first mile. That was very frustrating, and perhaps they should have a separate wave for walkers or tell them that they have to start at the very back.
I am not sure that Portsmouth, because of its location, is a very good choice for this race. It's difficult to get out of at the best of times and having all those runners descend is obviously asking for trouble. I'm sorry to say but unless it moves elsewhere I won't be doing the GSR again. Date of review: October 30, 2007
In short: Clockwork organisation, fabulous crowd, a great day In full: Fabulous day. I felt quite emotional at parts on the course because the crowd gives you such a fantastic lift, and running with loads of other people is just such a contrast to the difficult, lonely training that you have to do.
I was running in sleet and rain during the winter but the atmosphere, cameraderie and support on the day makes it all worth it. Can't wait to do it again next year. Date of review: April 10, 2006