In short: Great race-shame about the weather In full: Excellent organisation and attention to detail, even going as far as painting the tree roots red on the course, Every marshal had a smile on the face, and gave words of encouragement, despite the pouring rain-even the one holding the cow, so a big well done to them, Hopefully in 2014 the weather will be better-Recommended!!! Date of review: October 13, 2013
In short: Thank you Springfield Striders....... In full: See you in 2014!-Get in quick if you want a place when entries open for 2014 as this Half is growing in stature and i expect the entries will SELL OUT FAST!!!! Date of review: September 23, 2013
In short: A little bit more attention to detail needed for 2014! In full: This is the 3rd time i have run this race and it,s one of those events where everything normally goes like clockwork, So the few glitches this tear seemed magnified!-First of all, Although they ststed on the event home page that the 10 mile finishers would receive mugs this year, They did not remove the line "Every finisher will receive a medal" which attracted some criticism. Secondly there was a false start which did not affect me, But it must have been frustrating for the elite runners, lastly they were a bit slow posting the results this year. However the positives far outweigh the negatives for this event, It has a fair priced entry with entry on the day available, A fete at the start which is great for families and the 2 mile runners and 10 milers on the course see each other running in the opposite direction. The event is also great for spectators as they see their runner twice on the loop of the playing field at the start, They can then cut through 2 streets and see there runner at mile 6 before making their way back to the Recreation ground to see their runner finish!-This is a great event and i,m sure the glitches will be sorted out for 2014!-As long as i,m healthy and not injured-I will be there! Date of review: May 22, 2013
In short: Best Marathon i,ve done! In full: Really can,t fault this race-But what else do you expect from a BARR Gold graded event?-Knocked about 40 mins off my previous marathon time (Still waiting for my time to be published-But it,s only the next morning, So no worries!)Very hot day, Own drinks allowed on the course, And the wonderful hospitality of Bungay,s Black Dog Running Club hosting the event!-I,m not a Marathon runner,Halfs are my normal distance But if i was i would thoroughly recommend this race, Sure you don,t ,get the crowds like London, But you do get the camraderie from other runners, Which is great andi think better. (many thanks to every runner that i talked to that helped me get round, Particuarly the man and woman from BDRC that were with me almost to the end!-If i lived closer i would return, But as it,s a 230 mile round trip, I,m afraid this was probably a once and once only event for me-Looking forward to next Sunday putting my feet up and watching London, Without the usual disappointment of not getting in, Thanks to this event-Thank you once again Black Dog Running Club-You should rightly be proud of this event!!! :-) Date of review: April 15, 2013
In short: A good race..... In full: But let down this year by the weather and long bag queues in the wet, Also i could not get on with the "water bottle gels" Deffo not good if you have false teeth!!! The medal is a bit understated compared to previous years, I like it, But feel others may have been disappointed if it was their first half, Also a lot of runners seemed to think they were faster than they actually are (Due to number swapping??) The free shuttle buses worked fine, But shame on the 2 idiots that left their goody bag rubbish on the bus seats as they left for the following runners to sit in-D%^^heads-If you had been wearing a club running vest or i could have seen your number i would name and shame you/Your club!!!-The course seemed a bit overcrowded this year, (I got tripped twice-but luckily didn,t go over!) Fair play to all the supporters for coming out and staying out in such wet weather and also to the organisers whom i,m led to believe complained to Reading cCuncil about the number of potholes on the course leading up tp the race-I did not see one pot hole so i,m guessing Reading Council filled them in before the race-Well done to both the Race Organisers and reading council!-Despite the "Niggles" i will probably be back in 2014 as i enjoy reading and for the last 4 years it,s been a "must-do" in my race diary, Although i think i might be a bit biased as i treatit as a holiday race and a weekend away :-) Date of review: March 18, 2013
In short: Excellent value race-Let down by timing problems once again! In full: This is an excellent value race, The communication before the race due to the weather problems was excellent, Unfortunately i have had to mark it down as in 2011, When they used bib chips i did not get a time and upon investigation my bib was,nt even registered on the system, And some people had problems again this year, (They used ankle chips in 2012 with no problems!) Fortunately for me i wasn,t one of them, Also the start in the bus lane is not wide enough! The only other niggle is approaching the finish you are put into single file, Just before turning into the school to finish, Which isn,t ideal at the end of a race!-Surely this can be sorted out for 2014!-Those niggles aside i would recommend this race as it,s excellent value for what you get and i hope to be back in 2014! Date of review: March 2, 2013
In short: A great way to to start 2013! In full: I enjoyed this race and it,s the second year in a row i have done it, I felt really rough on the morning of the race and was,nt going to go (Not hangover-dodgy stomach!) But SWMBO! forced me to go saying "I,m not having you whinging"-"Wish i,d i have gone"! (To the race-Not the toilet-lol!) all day and forced me out the door! Even 20 minutes before the start i was considering pulling out with a dodgy stomach, But i,m glad i ran, My stomach held out,(Too much info???-lol!) I got a respectable time (For me) and had a good race, Finishing 30 seconds off my target time which i don,t think was too bad considering how i felt. The race is really good value for what you get, For £15 UKA Affiliated, You get a chip timed Central London race, A bag drop, A race momento and Water in bottles twice on the course and at the finish (This year was particuarly generous-Not only did we get the promised technical T-Shirt, We also got an inscribed medal!) and cheery marshals who actively and within reason and without upsetting the other park users were stopping them from crossing the paths of runners-Very much apppreciated!-The only negative is that for the first 1-2k the course is a bit overcrowded. With only 750 places available this race always sells out very quickly but i think it would sell out fast if even if they could double the number of places available-Thanks for another great NYD 10k Serpentine running club-Hopefully i,ll be back in 2014! Date of review: January 1, 2013
In short: Review is for 2012 race. In full: As there is no 2012 event review this review will be filed under 2011 but it IS for the 2012 event.
I enjoyed this race, This being the second time i have done it and i will be back in 2013!-The only negative i can find was that compared to last year early arrivals were directed to the car park at the back of the sports centre, Which seems a bit unfair when you have taken the trouble to get there early for the latecomers to get parking much nearer to the race HQ, But thinking about it i suppose it makes sense as they were keeping spaces free nearer the HQ for anyone with mobility problems, I found the walk from the rear car park to the race HQ and back just a tad dangerous as you were walking facing oncoming traffic, I am sure that there is a way you could walk "round the back" to the start if you are parked in the rear car park, Thus avoiding having to walk so close to moving cars to get to the race HQ and i,m sure this can be looked into and resolved easily for the 2013 event, That one niggle aside i enjoyed this race, At only £7.50 advance entry UKA Affiliated it,s extremely good value for what you get, A RunBritain ranked race, A Technical T-Shirt a bottle of water at the finish-Cheery professional Marshals and other race Personnel and excellent pre and post race facilities. Parts of the course were 2-3 inches underwater but we were warned about this at the safety briefing before the start. Well done to the woman who ploughed through the long deep puddle on the course shouting "wheeee!" as she did with a great big smile on her face-Way to go Girl!-Whilst everyone else including me dodged it by going up the banking at the side of the road. It was also nice to meet Sarah G from Springfield Striders again, Whom i first met at the Great baddow 10 earlier this year and run along with for 4-5 miles to the finish, After the race. I also managed a PB! which was,nt too difficult seeing as i,ve only ever run 2 5 mile races!-Hopefully i will make the 2013 version and i,m already looking forward to it as this race is now a firm favourite in my race calender!-Reccomended! :-) Date of review: December 26, 2012
In short: A good race-Will do it again-But wish i did,nt live so far away! In full: I enjoyed this race, The buses and parking worked well, The organisation and marshalling was good and the pre-race facilities excellent and the ability to number swap on the day if you cannot make the race and arrive with an original entrants bib gets a big Thumbs-Up! from me. The only thing that really let,s this race down for me is that fact that living in London makes it a longish day and also the time of year means travelling can be an issue. (I booked this race a couple of years ago, when we had a lot of snowfall, And although the race went ahead i did not fancy driving up the M1 to get to the race in the treacherous driving conditions) Although the less than £20 entry fee is,nt too much too lose if the weathers bad. I did,nt find the main road section dangerous at all as drivers slowed down, In fact it was safer than other parts of the race, Where i had a couple of cars come a bit too close, But having done plenty of open road races you get used to it and there,s nothing the organisers can do to prevent idiotic drivers!-The only 2 negatives (And the first is,nt really a negative!) (Well 3 if you count the fact i could not find the Olympic torch photo opportunity-But that just have been me not looking!) is that the race was very "Clubby" bordering on elitey as i would say around 95 per cent were wearing club vests. This was also the first half marathon for a new member of my running club and i did wonder if they felt just a little bit intimidated by the amount of club runners present. The only other negative i can find with this race is that it does not seem to qualify as a RunBritain ranked race so does not count towards your runbritain handicap which is quite surprising given that the race is organised by Bedford Harriers, Finally i,m not sure if the other member of my running club would rather have had a medal this being her first half, But you new before signing up before the race what the race momento was, And i love the rucksack which is probably worth the best part of half the entry fee alone!-A great race and i will be back next year-Weather permitting!-RECCOMENDED! Date of review: December 21, 2012
In short: Overpriced Overcrowded and Overrated! In full: REVIEW IS FOR 2012 RACE HELD ON 28/10/2012
As this website does not have 2012 this rating will be listed under 2011 but it IS for the 2012 event.
I have done every one of these bar the first one and enjoyed them-Not this year though!-previously there were around 15000 runners-This year they upped it to i think 18000 and the course just could not cope with the extra runners. In previous years water on the course was provided in bottles this year it was in plastic cups, Although the volunteers did their best they were never going to fill the cups up quick enough for the amount of people taking part!-The toilets at the start were too near the baggage drop which meant people queuing for the toilets were also queuing to get out of baggage drop tent causing a bottlneck. There was also a bottleneck on the course at the royal artillary barracks as the thousands of runners tried to get through 2 2 foot wide gaps to exit-Although well done to the marshal for pointing out the bollard in the middle of the gaps-not an easy job with thousands of runners coming towards her-so fair play to her. The championchips we were supplied with had to be threaded through your laces-which caused a bottleneck at the finish-Why could they not have supplied championchips with velcro straps like they do at Southend is beyond me-It would have made the chips a lot easier to remove and prevented bottlenecking as it is not easy to bend down and untie your laces after 13 miles (I had to help a woman get her chip off as she could not bend down at the finish)-Talking of the finish this year we did not even get a goody bag and the medals were just handed to you in their wrappers-which seems a bit impersonal-Although at least you knew you were getting a medal that was unscratched from clanking with other medals. The bands on the course are good but i think that the spectators benfit more from them as you only hear them for aprrox 400 yards as you run. Also in previous years your time was sent by text shortly after you crossed the finish line-not this year though (Even though i think when i signed up they stated you would get your time sent by text?) Also the baggage queue this year was horrendous, 25 mis to queue for your bag after running was ridiculous, Although i am not blaming the baggage volunteers they did a good job i think they were simply overwhelmed with the extra runners and extra baggage people were carrying due to this years event being held a month later due to olympics and the cold weather. Finally i think the course was long and as it has not been measured by runbritain it does not qualify towards your ranking. I have enjoyed this race in the past but will not be doing it again, As although it has always been a "Commercial" race it has always had a "personal feel" to it-Not this year though-It was obvious that the only thing the organisers were interested in is profit-Frankly for £46 i expected better.