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03rd Mar2014

Reading Half Marathon 2014 Review – 2nd March 2014

by admin-runningmarathons

Reading Half Marathon 2014 Review

After the weather at the 2013 Reading Half Marathon bordering on biblical rain storms, making it one of the wettest, coldest half marathons I have ever taken part in, I was looking forward to better conditions this year.

Reading Half Marathon 2014 Medal

Thankfully, the weather didn’t let me down and it stayed dry all morning, right into the afternoon, this set the done for what was an excellent event.

I had stayed in Reading the night before and parked in the city centre, I was unsure whether to leave the car in the centre and take one of the shuttle buses, or drive close to the start/finish and try and park (I had failed to get an official parking space, so this was a bit of a gamble.

I decided to get up early and took the latter option and found an industrial unit right opposite the Madjeski Stadium offering parking for £8, this was perfect and much closer than the official parking, however, most of the unofficial car parks were full by around 9am.

With so many runners taking part, the walk to the start can be congested, even from the stadium, it takes 10-15 minutes to get to the start pens.

However, it is easy to find your way and as I was early (and it was dry) I had time to have a look around the race village, there was plenty to enjoy, I picked up an official 2014 technical t-shirt, which at £15 was reasonable (nice to see the 2013 tops available for £5).

The organisation seemed good and it was soon time to head to the start area, as I mentioned, this can take a while with spectators and runners all heading the same way.

It was pretty cold waiting for the start, many runners had opted for the stylish black bin bag look to stay warm until they got moving.

The start was on time and we were away at 10:15am, I was aiming to complete the half marathon in under 1 hour 40 minutes and I was a little worried the first couple of kilometres would be congested, meaning I wouldn’t be able to run at my desired pace.

I started out in the red pen and positioned myself a few meters behind the 1 hour 35 minute pacemaker, this strategy worked well and I have no issues getting away and maintaining the pace, it was busy in the first few kilometres, but it wasn’t a problem as the course is wide in most places and copes well with near on 20,000 runners.

One thing I noticed was that there were very few pacemakers, I only saw the 1 hour 35 minute sign, last year there was one for every 5 minutes, but I didn’t see them this year, which was frustrating, especially as I was aiming for a specific time.

The course is a nice one, it does have a few industrial and residential sections, but these are made up for with sections through the city centre and other local landmarks that make it have a really nice atmosphere along the way, there is also very good support, some parts of the course are thick with spectators and the finish inside the Madjeski Stadium is a must for any keen runner.

Reading Half Marathon Review 2014 (2) Reading Half Marathon 2014 Review

My only negative comment about the course is the frustration as you approach the stadium to find you have to do a 2 kilometre out and back again, before you make the final approach to stadium.

But overall, it is a great course and a very well organised event, there are also plenty of drink stations, offering water in pouches and sports drinks.

On a personal note, I managed to hit my target with a personal best of 1 hour 39 minutes and 12 seconds, so I was delighted with my run, this was topped off by probably the biggest, chunkiest medal I have ever had and a nice goody bag with a couple of energy bars a mars bar, drink and a nice t-shirt, there was no t-shirt last year, nice touch.

After the race I was quickly away with minimal fuss, but I did hear a few grumbles about the bag drop and shuttle buses.

Overall a great day and a race not to be missed if you are into running half marathons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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