In short: Seeing how the other half live!! In full: Lovely. There are a couple of bottlenecks but the course does run along the towpath and this is very clear in the race information. The Windsor start and first few miles make the course even more scenic (and easier parking) than the previous Chalvey start (when I last run it in 2012), and adds the wonderful little church at Boveney to the route.
The route is uplifting for pretty much the full distance, and the total value of the properties you run past must equate to the GDP of a small country! It is also surprising how isolated you can feel in such a populous area.
My only little gripes - which are very little - were getting out of the car park in Marlow (aargh!) and the lack of goody bags. Date of review: July 27, 2014
In short: Lovely morning out for all the family In full: Nice run around some lovely countryside. The 5 mile was very well organised and the route was well chosen. Slightly hillier than you would expect for the area and the gates and mud make a PB hard work. Very jolly atmosphere and access to Wokefield House was nice on a chilly morning. My two children (10 and 7) loved the 1 miler and there was a great turnout for the event. These organisers do put on a good race, and the medal was good as well (designed in the shape of Wokefield House). If it's on next year, we will all be back! Date of review: April 6, 2014
In short: I can walk to the start so baggage isn't an issue.... In full: ....though I know from friends that it is a nightmare (every year). However, I can only take as I find. The route has certainly improved and is now relatively pleasant, although the last 2-3 miles is dull as dishwater. The rest is quite nice - Reading really isn't as ugly as people make out (I might live there but I am not from Reading, so I'm trying not to be biased!).
I do 20-30 races each year and was amazed by the level of support - I was (stupidly) running with a bit of an injury and every time I felt like quitting the fantastic crowd kept me going. I've only really experienced such consistent on route support at London. The stadium finish was brilliant and the crowd noise is a genuine roar as you turn into the ground.
The course is very good and has an interesting mix of (little) hills, straights and tight turns - thoroughly enjoyable!
That said, my main gripe is the cost. Despite living there, this was my first Reading since 2002, and that is based purely on the high entry fee. There are lots of other races Good races at this time of year that don't cost anywhere near the £36 it cost for this (i.e. Fleet half, which is an extremely good race and costs £10 less). I'm not tight, but the cost seems too high!
So overall, if you want a potential PB and fantastic crowd support, and don't mind paying over the odds, then Reading is ideal (I think, on balance, that it is worth it). My only advice would be to carry a small backpack and wear clothes that you can dump before the start, thus avoiding the baggage. Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: Wonderful way to start the new running year In full: I have done this for the last three years and love it. Organisation is good and all seems to run smoothly enough. Due to the rural nature of the course support is a bit lacking, but more than made up for by the gorgeous scenery - especially when you lift out of Goring into wonderful 360 degree views of the Berks/Oxon downs.
I read in runners world a while back that you can PB a distance if it is part of a greater distance i.e. the first half of a marathon. If this is right then the first 5k of this race is definitely PB material. Don't be tempted - you will pay in the second 5k!!!! Date of review: January 6, 2014
In short: A wonderful, friendly race in beautiful scenery with a tough hill half way. IMO this is one of the best 10ks in the south and fully deserves it's excellent ratings. Date of review: October 20, 2013
In short: Wet but wonderful In full: This is a fantastic race and, in my opinion, one of the best races in Britain. Yes, the start is a bit of an issue but it is easy enough for the good runners to get themselves in front of the pack at the start. The route is just perfect - a couple of kms up to the dam and then 10 wonderful flat miles round the reservoir, before the downhill run to the finish. There is little scope for spectators on the course because the road is quite narrow and the general area sparsely populated but the scenery makes up for this. This is more than compensated at the end where the locals seem to turn out in force. Car parking is well organised and marshals friendly. I drive up from Reading for this race every year and will continue to do so. The weather this year was rubbish but the whole experience was as uplifting as ever. In a word, brilliant. Date of review: September 17, 2013
In short: Well organised, scenic and friendly run In full: Very good race. Flat as a pancake but a few stiles and bridges will slow you down. Very friendly event starting in a nice public park, so plenty of facilities. The marshalls were fantastic and really supportive - thanks! I would certainly do this again. Date of review: June 2, 2013
In short: Quite tough run through beautiful countryside In full: Fantastic race: the weather was perfect and the scenery wonderful, especially above Streatley and back through to Compton. Very friendly event and plenty of jolly conversation during race. The trail was clearly marked and the water stations well stocked. Basically, this echoes everything that has gone before!
Not sure how many good reviews this needs to qualify for the annual best race in RW but this certainly deserves to be a contender. Date of review: April 7, 2013
In short: Great race but not-so-great weather! In full: Much better than I expected (though no idea why I didn't expect much!). Good course, which was a mixture of Fleet and nice countryside. Support was brilliant and it seemed like all the residents of Fleet and the villages had turned out to cheer, despite the awful weather - wasn't expecting that! Plenty of friendly marshals and good organisation all round. I live in Reading and couldn't decide between that or Fleet (I find Reading too chaotic, too expensive and lacking in scenery, despite the fantastic support) - definitely made the right decision and will be back next year. Date of review: March 17, 2013
In short: Brilliant - road, wet, mud, hill, mud, mud, mud! In full: This fantastic run is a great way to end the year. The recent rain made the route very wet and muddy but slipping round the roman walls of silchester is one of the highlights of my running year. There are no boring bits on what is a lovely undulating route of grass, small roads, paths and ploughed fields.
This is a very friendly race with great marshals, good organisation and a lovely medal. It's also nice to get a slip with your time and position straight after finishing. Deserves to be real highlight on the regional calendar - this was my 20th race of 2012, and probably my favourite. Date of review: December 30, 2012