In short: First Half Marathon and will definitely be back next year, and great support. In full: This was my first Half Marathon and I had a wonderful time. Finished in 2:02:26 which was below my target of 2:05, but maybe could have gone faster if I wasn't dodging so many people. Bag queues were not an issue for me, as with my "slow" time and then hanging around in the stadium, by the time I got to bags I walked straight up and got mine. Also I was staying at a hotel, so can't comment on the shuttles/car park situation.
The race itself is great with some phenomenal support along parts of the course and a huge kudos to the people of Reading for coming out, and all the impromptu water and jelly babies stops en route. I'm sure if the weather had been kinder we would have seen even more. It was a great goody bag with t-shirt, snacks, drinks etc and the medal is excellent and solid.
The only downside for me was the stadium finish as the music was playing so loud you couldn't hear the crowd noise, plus you actually spend little time in there. It would be better if you could do a lap of the pitch, rather than just running down the short side.
Regardless I will definitely be back next year! Date of review: March 3, 2014
In short: Good fun race, apart from the killer hill at the start.... In full: First time running this and wanted to do some hill work as part of my prep for the Reading Half. Nasty short, steep hill at the start which the race seems renowned for, but the bonus is "what goes up must come down" so some nice downhill sections. Managed a new PB, but this was more down to my own fitness improving. Nice race and the start area gives a lovely view across the area, including Wembley Stadium in the distance. Date of review: February 16, 2014
In short: Nice course and something different. Shame about the price. In full: First time running this (and only second ever race) so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The course is nice and relatively flat with gentle gradients rather than any steep hills so is pleasant and comfortable to run. It's a 3 lap course which was nice as I could use the first lap to assess the course and learn where the uphill sections were, ready to speed up on the next 2 laps. I also particularly appreciate the water stations as they were available each time you went round on a lap. It was well organised and even had some jazzercise for warmups! I also have to commend them for getting the results and timings posted online the same day as the race.
On the downsides, it's not cheap. I know a big chunk of that covers the actual zoo entrance fee but it still seems pricey as the race itself is really just for the novelty factor of running it in the zoo. The goody bag was a letdown as well with a snack bar, bottle of water and adverts from the sponsors. For this sort of cost I would have expected some form of T-Shirt as well.
Luckily I was coming from local and it was just me, so I was able to keep the cost down but bring a few spectators and it soon mounts up.
I would be tempted to do it again next year as it is local for me and a nice course that I enjoyed, but it will all depend on the cost (or an increase in goody bag quality). Date of review: June 9, 2013
In short: Great race, with good organisation and a course that is suitable for all In full: This was my first race so I wasn't sure what to expect, however I needn't have been worried. It was well run, with a course that is not too challenging. There are a few hills but it is more undulating than hilly. Really enjoyed it. Only complaints is that official results (with times) are still not on the website. Also the wooden medal felt cheap considering the price paid. Will still do it again next year. Date of review: May 16, 2013