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READING HALF MARATHON

It is 35 years since the idea of a mass running event could take place in Reading. At a time when there had been just two London Marathons it was decided that Reading should create a race over the half distance of 13.1 miles.

 The First Winner in 1983

The first race was run on 13th March 1983 and 5000 runners took part. The winner was an unknown student from Reading University, the venue for the start and finish of the race, 21 year old Mark Cursons. Wheelchair competitors were invited to take part, one of the first races to include them, and as a result the London Marathon introduced them for the first time later in that year.

In the early days of the race new records were set every year in the men’s, women’s and wheelchair race.

The venue of the race has changed several times, after the University at Whiteknights it moved to the South Reading Leisure Centre in 1986 and then to the Rivermead Complex in 1991 before finding the must recent and prestigious venue of the Madejski Stadium in 2004. 

Over the years many famous or well known people have taken part including the former England Football manager Graham Taylor, the Cheeky Girls, jockey Richard Dunwoody, chef Gordon Ramsay. 

Top athletes have attended the race as starters and guests including Sally Gunnell, Dame Kelly Holmes and Steve Cram. 

Over the years many overseas runners have taken part including the Klimes twins from the Czech Republic in 1987 they  came 2nd and 3rd  in a very faster and close race behind Kevin Forster who set the fastest time to date of 62:07 with London Marathon winner Hugh Jones 4th. Birchfield Harriers won the Sweatshop Team Trophy. 

The following year1988 the Italian Athletics Federation sent runners to the race and from now on foreign runners became a feature of the event with runners and a wheelchair athlete from Reading, Pennsylvania taking part the following year.

In 1990 there was the unique finish of a dead heat and the four leading runners finishing within 2 seconds of each other.

The first overseas winner came in 1992 when a 16 year old from Kenya Scholasica Ndigingi won the women’s race, on the shortened course because of an incident in the town centre. 

In 1993 Paul Evans won in the new record of 61:38 to receive a new car and £1000 as his reward. Tanni Grey won the ladies wheelchair race and her future husband Ian Thompson set new figures of 59:23 for the wheelchair race. 

In 2003 the current race organisers, the Sweatshop took over the race which was run for the last time from Rivermead. 

In 2004 the race started again from South Reading Leisure Centre with the finish in  the Madejski Stadium with the largest entry to date of 10,500. It was also significant as Julius Kimtai of Kenya won with 61:38 equalling the record time set in 1994. The women’s winner was a Russian, Galina Ignatieva in 74:27. It was also the year when the GreenPark Challenge was introduced to encourage new runners and youngsters.

 

The following year 2005  the numbers rise again with an entry of 12,500. The start of the race was delayed on the cool dry day and it was a two man race with the winner of the previous year Kimtai being challenged all the way by 21 year old Malack Olemengera until over an hour of running when he broke away to get his back to back win in 61:51. It was a double Kenya win as Catherine Mutwa took the women’s race with 73:09. David Weir won the wheelchair race breaking the 9 year record with 51:40. A record he reduced to the present record of 45:59 in 2006

In 2007 the team race was won for the first time by an overseas club, Ciclote Aranda from Spain

The fastest race date and the largest field to date was run in 2008 when Kenyan Patrick Makau lowered the record to 61:19 and Liz Yelling took the women’s record down to 69:35. 

Over the history of the race hundreds of charities have received a total of something approaching £2 million. 

The race has continued to grow in size and is now possibly the largest half marathon after the Great North Run.

2006 Half Marathon

It was Kenyans leading the way again in 2006 with Simon Kasimili winning in the slow time of 64:51  and just getting ahead of rival Simon Tonui in the last few hundred metres after being together for the 13 miles. Tonui’s time was 64:54. They had dropped all other opposition by the 2.5 mile mark and went through 3 miles in 14:52, 6 miles in 29:30, and 10 miles in 49:27, over 2 minutes down on the faster winning times in previous years.

Thirty five year old Ian Hudspith (Morpeth Harriers) took 3rd in 65:29,slower than his 63:19 when finishing 3rd in 2000. He was followed by Richard Gardiner (Cardiff AAC) in 65:33, Toby Lambert (Alton Harriers) 5th in 66:47 and Mark Hudspith(brother of Ian) 6th with 68:01. The first vet 40 was in 7th place Philip Parry (Bristol and West AC)  70:06.

In the women,’s race it was another win for Cathy Mutwa in a very good time of 72:10 in 11th place, a personal best time and just 1 second out side the 21 year old record of 72:09.

In 18th place and 1st Vet35 was Wendy Jones (Cirencester AC) with 73:21, the mother of a young girl she took a staggering 6 minutes off her best and another PB was set by the 3rd wunner Nicola Slater, 22nd in 74:24.

The only course record on the day was set by David Weir in the Wheelchair race who raced away and was soon making it obvious that his reord of 51:40 set the previous year was going to be broken. He flashed through the 6 mile point in 21:33 and 10 miles in 35:45 to win in the new record of  45:59, a massive 5:41 of f his record. His expected main rival Tushar Patel finished nearly ten minutes behind in 55:54 with 3rd place going to Brian Alldis in 56:17.

 

One surprising entry who completed the 13.1 miles was the chairman of Reading FC, John Madejski who had just celebrated the club’s promotion to the Premiership.. He ran into his own stadium to received the welcome of the gathered crowds. 

2007 Half Marathon

Reading Roadrunners had a double success in the team race with the men finishing as top team and the women ending in their usual position of first in their race. 

The 2007 race had another huge entry. Over 10,000 runners lined up at the new start in Longwater Drive and there were probably nearly as many spectators there to see the start.

There was a short delay of about 10 minutes mainly due to the runners themselves ambling to the start and not seeming to be in any hurry to get there.

When the 25th ASICS Reading Half Marathon did get under way six runners soon separated from the front of the field. Including the winner in 2006 Simon Kisimili (Kenya), John Nyasenga (Burundi) and Dan Robinson (Stroud AC).

The first mile was a modest 4:57 and at 1.5 miles Dan Robinson was briefly in the lead.  By three miles reached in 15:09 the Kenyan and Burundi athletes were in control but three other runners were in touch. Hugh Lobb (Bedsford and County) took a go at the lead and they went through 4miles in 19:43. By 5 miles there were only three runners, the leading two had been joined by Dan Robinson and they went through this point in 24:35. By the halfway reached in 31:54 the two Africans had eased ahead. Between 7 and 8 miles Robinson started to reduce the lead and took the lead. He was still leading at 10 miles reached in 48:47 and it was Nyasenga hanging on. It was still between Kisimili and Robinson as they entered the Madejski Stadium but the Kenyan, always afast finisher, pulled away to win with 63:36 from Robinson 63:42 with Nyasenga 3rd in 63:52.

In the race for the women’s prize the winner, who was running her first race over the distance, Louise Damen broke the 21 year old record setting new figures of 70:47 in 16th place. The first three all had PB’s, Wendy Jones (Cirencetster AC) was 2nd with 72:48 and Alice Braham (Team BBC) was 3rd in 73:25.

The wheelchair race was again dominated by David Weir who had set the new record of 45:59 in 2006.  He stormed away to win in 46:06 just outside his own record, Brian Alldis was 2nd kin 54:37 and Shaker Qadir was 3rd in 64:59. He had a sensational finish as he jumped out of his chair and crossed the line on his hands pushing the chair ahead of him. 

2008 Half Marathon 

Sadly I could not be at the 2008 race as I was in my bed in the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford at the end of ten weeks there and three major operations. What a race to miss as both the men’s and women’s r ecords were broken. The race winner was Patrick Makau (Kenya) with 61:19 and Liz Yelling(Bedford and County) took the women’s record with 69:35. After lasting for 21 years the women’s record was broken in 2007 and 2008..

From an entry of over 14,000 there were 11200 finishers, the most ever but still a huge ‘fall out’.

Carol Bowker of Reading Roarunners took my place in the lead vehicle. She had been a member of several of the winning ladies teams for the club over the 13 years they had won the team race. But she did not miss out being in the winning team as they just failed to win  for the 14th time. 

2009 Half Marathon 

Another great race in the Reading Half Marathon. After I had sounded the Klaxon along with Mayor Peter Beard I watched the runners cross the start line and it took just over 20 minutes for all the field to run under the start banner. By the time the last few had started their race the leaders were already well passed the 4 mile mark. On a near perfect day the top runners raced off from the start and in the early stages around five were in contention but before ten miles this had reduced to just two.  The runners made their way around the town at roughly 4:40 per mile in front of the huge crowd on the streets of Reading.

Always at the front was London based Kenyan Kiplimo Kimutai who won the Hastings Half two weeks earlier with a new record of 62:50, he was challenged by two of Britain’s top road athletes Phil Wicks (Belgrave Harriers) and Benedict Whitby (Windsor Slough and Eton) along with  Simon Tonui, another Kenyan,  who finished 2nd in Reading in 2006 and won the recent Bath race in 63:09.

At ten miles Kimutai parted company with Wicks and dashed away into a reasonable lead to win with 62:46 with a strong finish as he sprinted around the Madejski Stadium. Phil Wicks finished strongly to take 2nd place in a personal best time by nearly two minutes of  62:51 with Benedict Whitby 3rd in 63:43 with another PB. Simon Tonui was 4th in 64:51 with Toby Lambert (Winchester and District) 5th in 65:28. with the 3rd Kenyan in 6th place. It was good for British Athletics that they shared the honours with the Kenyans having three in the first six finishers. With many runners running PB’s it was surprising that Williard Chinhanhu of Poole Runners, the Wokingham Half record holder was 3 minutes outside his best in 7th place.

Mike Trees the veteran Triathlete was 27th in 71:41, he is a V45 and was 1st vet to finish ahead of the Vet40’s, 

After two years of record breaking in the Women’s race it was a comparatively modest performance by Kenyan athlete Joyce Kirui that won the day in 37th place with 72:49. She had been running faster in the early stages but slowed as she built a large lead and was 70 seconds up on the 2nd finisher Louise Damen 55th  in 73:59. The leading runners were well spread with 3rd runner Susie Bush (Aldershot Farnham and District) in 74:46. Holly Rush from Bath was 4th with 76:17.

Reading Roadrunner Sarah Gee had a great run with 77:43 (94th overall) in 7th place which also won her the first vet prize. 

As I presented the prizes to the winning athletes I had the chance to talk to them. A lot of runners could learn from the race winner Kimutai. I asked him where he was running next and his reply “I don’t know, it is back to training now.” He has a best time of 27:23 for 10Kms. It was also great to see 25 year old Phil Wicks in 2nd place, the record holder at two local events, the Wargrave 10K and the Maidenhead 10 mile. Benedict Whitby who did work for the SweatShop and is now a policeman at Slough had previously finished 2nd in the Reading race in 2003. 

No surprise in the Wheelchair race which was won by Brian Alldis in 54:37. He was well ahead of previous winner Tushar Patel with 67:12. Alldis reached 6 miles in 25:10 and 12 miles in 49:59. 

It was a good day for the local runners. Dave Fallon (Reading AC) headed the ‘locals’ in 39th place and 72:55. Keith Russell was first home for the Reading Roadrunners in 48th place with 73:33. Julian Sherman added another PB with his run in 70th place and 75:07, he was slightly disappointed as he was hoping to break the 75 minutes. Mark Saunders was 95th in 77:40 finishing just behind  Sarah Gee, the winning vet lady.

Michael Gooding was 101st in 78:03, Peter Crisp shattered his PB for the distance with 79:10 in 120th place, his previous best was 86:38. Other ‘Green vests’ included David McCoy  139th – 79:54, John Pembroke 146th – 80:14, Vet45 Chris Mason 161st – 81:0, Richard Usher 197th – 82:20, and Ian Gosling 226th – 83:00, Dwayne Stewart-Power 86:17, Glyn Jones 86:06, Ian Harvey 86:41, Colin Cottell 87:33, Tim Chesher 88:07, Graham Tull 89:03, and Ian Carey 90:08. One of the older runners Tom Harrison VM 70 finished in 2:30.

It was a good day for the women of the club and they may have regained the team award with Sarah Gee followed by Liz Hartney 169th and 13th female with 81:38 which made her 2nd FV40 behind Gee. Lesley Whiley was 27th female and 3rd FV45 in 84:21, Carol Bowker 51st female and 4th FV45 in 89:55, Bridget Heath 57th in 87:55 and Belinda Tull 67th – 90:54,

Having only missed one Reading race Paul Jenkins the former Reading Prison Officer returned to run in the ‘green vest’ and finished in 95:03. In the results he is shown as a VM55 but he is over 60. His wife Liz who runs for Bournemouth Joggers finished in 2:11.53 along with two from her club.

Over 125 runners took part from Reading Roadrunners. 

Other Reading Athletic Club runners were  Andrew Hawkins a VM45 248th – 83:43, Anthony Tyler VM40 297th – 85:09, Jacob Batchelor  395th – 87:16, and John Cregory  VM50 – 87:34 

Leading the Reading Joggers was Richard Coates 390th with  86:31. Others included Simon Plevey 506th – 88:45, Brian Hay 92:52 , Matthew Eley 94:22, Bob Brookes 95:11, Neil Woodroof 95:36, Samantha Houston 98:29, Clare Bird 100:00, and  Adrian Lee 101:07. Also from the club two who have taken part every year from 1983, FV60 Caroline White 2:16.29 and Arthur Abbott 2:42.13. Over 40 from the club took part. 

Reading man 58 year old Michael Denney completed his run in 2:18.54 to keep up his record of running in every race. Also there again Mick Sheenhan from Caversham in 2:9.21 and David Wise VM60 (Tadley Runners) 2:56.50. 

Fashion Model Nell McAndrew a regular runner in the event running for Thames Valley Harriers was 434th in 87:30 

Having his own race blind runner Bill Gulliver was sent on his way by me after the start of the GreenPark Challenge at 8:30am. He walked the course in around 4 hours with his escorts.

                                                                        ***************

Half Marathon 24th March  2010

Thousands of runners, bright blue skies and huge crowds on the streets to cheer the runners around Reading.

I had witnessed the early arrivals for the races before 7am when the Race Village  was up and running, Having breakfast I was pleased to see that not all runners have a Spartan breakfast. There were plenty enjoying their full English up to 2 hours before the start. 

Having watched most of the Half Marathons since 1983 I can say that these were the largest ever crowds, packed at so many vantage points. From the start right through to 10 miles or so where the spectators have gone to the Madejski Stadium to witness the finish. The usual places had large crowds like Prospect Park area but the huge improvement was in the town centre where there were masses of people for the first time. 

In the lead car where I travelled with others including the Mayor we witnessed the great fun of the event, the bands, the balloons, the banners and the colours. Even the Jelly Baby station in Coley Avenue manned by young children. 

At the start I met and spoke to Richard Whitehead the double leg amputee who runs on his blades. He had set a new world record at Wokingham of 78:31 and was looking to break that. He came into the stadium to the largest cheer of the day and smashed the record with his run in exactly 75 minutes We have become accustomed to seeing the disabled in wheelchairs but this is a unique and very modern way of enjoying sport with a serious disability. It was a remarkable run by a dedicated man. 

At the start I also met for the first time one of the very few who have run every year since the start, Kevin Taylor from Tilehurst finished in 1:53 to keep his record of running all the half marathon 

Because of the changes to the route this year there many more twists and sharp turns which would have slowed the top runners considerably but the winning time of 63:03 was still the 10th fastest in the history of the race.

Another problem with the route was the narrow stretches where the route was only just wide enough for the lead vehicle, it must have been very congested when the bulk of the runners were going through. 

The overall appearance of the race that those taking part were fitter and faster this year with the exception of the front runners where times were not so good. Up to 250th place the runners were slower compared with the better previous years but for the mass of runners from 500th place their times were slightly better than recent years but not as good as the best years where the 10th placed runner did 64:50 compared to 69:08 this year and the 1000th placed runner did 89:08 compared to 94:50 this year. 

It was great to see local runners finishing higher  up in the results this year with two Reading Roadrunners Keith Russell who finished 32nd in 73:30 and Sarah Gee the 5th lady in 75:59 leading the way.. 

The charity aspect of the race was as evident as ever and it was good to see runners supporting the Help for Heroes charity and so many more good causes. 

There must be many races around the country who envy the great finishing venue of the Madejski Stadium it gives a great atmosphere for everyone especially the runners and it was easy to see the inspiration it gave them as they all lifted themselves as they entered the arena for their own special finish. It was like the finish of an Olympic or World Championship marathon for them  

   

Reading Half Marathon 2011                                                  **************************

On a good clear morning the thousands of runners lined up on Green Park for the 29th Reading Half Marathon. After a slight delay the wheelchairs were sent on their way by the Mayor of Reading and Sir John Madejski. Then five minutes later the runners were off for their 13.1 mile run around Reading.

I had my usual place in the lead car so was able to see the race unfold and see the enormous crowds around the town.

From the start the crowds were deep on both sides and there was hardly a break until the last couple of miles. 

Very quickly eight runners were away in the front of the field, this group included the Kenyon runners and the best of British. Simon Kasimili(the winner in 2007) the two Edwins Kipyego (the winner here last year in 63:03) and Kipkorir(the winner at Bath this year) Muli Mualuko, Daniel Mukche, Phil Wicks (Belgrave Harriers), Dan Robinson (Stroud and District AC) and Dave Webb (Leeds AC) with several others tracking close behind.  The runners reached the first mile marker in Hartland Road in 4:40.

The group stayed together and were through 2 miles in 9:35 with the crowds in Whitley cheering them on their way. With one runner and then another taking the lead they ran passed the 3 miles on the Shinfield Road in 14:35 and they swept into the University grounds without anyone making an obvious effort to move away and were through 4 miles in 19:30 with the pace increasing slightly but even at this stage it was clear that there would not be a record breaking year.

Down the hill on Kendrick Road that used to be a tough up hill run the group were joined by two of the chasing runners so that ten were together through the 5 mile point in 24:15. It was then into town where there were huge crowds again and along Kings Road to the 6 mile marker reached in 28:55, the lead group was now beginning to split with just five  taking over, Kasimili, Kipyego, Kipkorir, Musluko and Mukshe, They then went through the 10Kms in 29:50. The halfway point in West Street was reached in just about 32 minutes with 7 miles coming up shortly afterwards as they turned from Oxford Road and up the last hill of the day Russell Street in 33:50.

It looked as though the pave was quickening but in reality they were still only running just under 5 minutes a mile and they went through 8 miles on Tilehurst Road in 38:40.The lead was now being taken over by any one of three runners including Simon Kasimili and they raced passed 9 miles on the Bath Road where for the first time there were not quite as many spectators, in 43:45 and 15Km in 45:16, onto the 10 miles which always gives a clue to the finishing time and this has previously been reached in 47 minutes or slightly faster in the three races where the fastest times were set. This time it was only 48:27 and the leading group of five were beginning to separate as Kisimili set the pace. The 11 mile mark was not obvious so no time recorded but by 12 miles.just after running through the start, the three leaders were on their own in 57:58. Just before entering the stadium the finishing order was established with Simon Kasimili taking the honours in 63:08 which made the last 1.1 miles win in 5:10, Edwin Kipyego was 2nd just 1 second behind and 3rd was Edwin Kipkorir in 63:12. The first British runner in the Grand Prix Challenge was Dave Webb from Leeds City AC in 6th place with 64:52, followed by Dan Robinson  7th – 65:05 and Phil Wicks (Belgrave Harriers) 8th with 65:09. There were 29 runners under 70 minutes.

The leading local runners were Fabian Downs (Reading AC) in 39th spot with 71:37, Keith Russell (Reading Roadrunners) 47th – 73:02, Daniel Thorne (Reading AC) 59th -  74:14, Mark Saunders (RRR’s) 71st – 75:07, William Bourne (RRR;s) with a very good 74th – 75:27 and it appears he was 3rd Vet40. Other Reading Roadrunners in their record entry of around 150 included Julian Sherman in 100th place with 77:48, a disappointing run for him,

Duncan Smith 108th – 78:08, Harry Gee 78:55 in 121st and Peter Crisp 129th – 79:18. The first female from the club was veteran 50 plus Lesley Whiley, the winner in her age group with 89:22, just ahead of Saba Holt with 89:33.

The first Reading Jogger of their 50 runners was Stuart Quinton  641st with 90:11 and the first female Maura Farrelly with with 97:13.

The race was the 11th fastest in the history of the event but one record was broken, I am sure there were even more people out on the streets to see the event than even last year. There were 12,483 finishers with the last runner/walker in just under 41/2 hours. In New York on the same day another UK runner Mo Farah was winning the half marathon there nearly three minutes faster than the Reading winning time, in fact that would have won Reading by over 1 kilometre.

23rd March 2011

Reading Half arathon 2012

On a bright spring morning the 29th Reading Half Marathon  was sent on its way by the Mayor of Reading, on time, in front of a huge number of spectators.

On the first mile two runners took control of the race with Edwin Kipyego , who was involed in the very close race last year when he finished  2nd just 1 second behind  the winner, and Bernard Chemugo reaching the first mile in just 4:35.

At 2 miles reached in 9:26 (mile time 4:51) they were pulling away from a small group of about four runners. As they reached the 3 mile point on Shinfield Road in 14:30(5:04) they were already 100 metres up on the distant 3rd and when they reached the circuit in the University and 4 miles in 19:30 (5:00) they had a lead of a good 200 plus metres with just the one runner in distant sight.

On the run down Kendrick the lead vehicle passed the faster of the two wheelchairs and Kipyego and Chemugo were moving further ahead of the rest passing 5 miles in 24:06 (4:39) and at 6 miles reached in 28:45(4:51)the rest really were out of sight but it was then obvious that there was not going to be a record breaking run and the 61:19 time set in 2008 would survive another year.

Then  the break came between the two lead runners at the 10K point. Kipyego went through in 29:50 and had about a 10 metre lead over Chemugo. The gap started to widen as the leader reached 7 miles in 33:36.(4:50) Running passed the good crowds by Prospect Park and the 8 mile mark Kipyego was pulling further ahead in 38:26(4:54). The Bath Road was lacking spectators but he was still surging ahead of his rival by over 100 metres at the 9 miles with 43:20(4:46). The gap then widened rapidly and he had a 250 metre plus lead at the 10 mile point reached in 48:06(4:41), considerably slower than in all the faster run races and more than 80 seconds slower than in the two fastest times for the course.

Edwin Kipyego was now running very relaxed and reached 11 miles in 52:47(4:41)and passing the last drinks station he did not take a drink, he and the second man  had not taken a drink at any of the previous stations. He was now around 250 metres ahead as he approached 12 miles and in sight of the stadium with 57:44(4:57).

He ran into the stadium alone to win in 63:08 to the acclaim of the large crowd. It was a good win for the 20 year old, who finished 2nd last year losing by just one second in 63:09 but outside his personal best time of 61:23. So he improved his position by one place and his time by just that one second

Bernard Chemugo rallied in the last mile to finish just 30 seconds behind in 63:38 and over 2 minutes ahead of 3rd man Paul Martelletti in 65:40.

The winning female was Alice Magire, 35th overall in a good time of 71:01 It was a close race with second female Eunice Kales in 41st with 71:24.

The first 26 in the race were faster than 70 minutes.

 

The leading local runner was Harry Gee, Reading Roadrunners who was 108th – 77:25, other from the club were Duncan Smith 113th – 77:34, Julian Sherman 121st – 77:55, Richard Bones 125th – 78:09, Mark Warringham 126th – 78:10,, Richard Usher 149th – 79:13, Ian Gosling 163rd – 79:34 and David McCoy 199th – 81:19. Sarah Urwin-Mann was the 1st lady from the club, 2nd FV40 in the race with 83:46, Belinda Tull was 6th in the same age group 87:22 and Lesley Whiley was 3rd FV50 in 88:07.

 

The leading Reading Joggers were Peter Bartlett 85:12, Brian Kirsopp 87:51, Diego Martin 91:25 and David Wheatcroft 91:40. In spite of injury and other problems Arthur Abbott reached the finish in 3:07.33 to keep up his record of having run all of the races since 1983. It appears that Peter Rayner from the club was 1st MV60 in 1:31.50.

 

Another local runner Kevin Taylor who was just 18 when he ran the first half marathon finished in 1:57.32 to keep up his record of running all the races.

I met him just before the start and he told me “I have set my target of running the 50th race when I will only be 68.”

With 13,104 finishers it was the largest number of finishers to date.

 

It was sad to see such a poor showing of wheelchair athletes, just two, Stephen Lightbrown finishing in 68:59 and the other in well over 3 hours. As we in the lead vehicle passed them in the early stages it caused  a problem and although I was the person responsible for introducing them into the Reading event I have to say now that it might be the time to take them out of the modern Reading Half.

 

After last year’s record breaking crowds out on the streets it was disappointing this year, there were some areas with good support but there were large sections of the route without spectators.

 

 4th April 2012 

Reading Half Marathon 2013

A very wet and cold day on 17th March but the snow mainly stayed out of town.

As usual the winner was a Kenyan Andrew Lesuuda in 64:14 frrom Peter Emase also Kenya  64:55 and Tewodros Shiferaw  (Ethiopia) 65:04. The first ‘home’ athlete was David Webb in 65:14.

The winning female was Emily Biwott from Kenya in 72:14 from a fellow Kenyan  Polline Wanjiku  and Ireland’s Maria McCambridge.

In spite of the weather nearly 13,000 of the 16,000 plus entries crossed the finish line. 

Mizuno Reading Half Marathon 2014

After the bad weather in the lrad up to the event it tirned out as an ideal day for running On Sunday 2nd March, the earliest the race has been held. The finish was again the  the Madejski Stafium and 14,267  runners completed the course around the town. There were the usual large crowds on the route to  watch the race from the start. It was a surprisingly close race with the winner Scptt Overall (Blackheath and Bromley) in 64:44 from Nicholas Torry (Serpentine) 64:50 and Phil Wicks (Belgrave) again making the too three in 64:55. The time was the 5th slowest in the race history 3 minutes outside the course record.The winning female was Susan Partridge (Leeds City AC) 65th 72:20.

There were great numbers of local club runners with 189 Reading Roadrunners, 77 Reading Joggers and 18 from Reading AC. The best of these were Reading Roadrunners,  Luc Jolly 74:27, Mark Worringham 75:00,upert Shute 75:44,Matthew Green 77:21, Kenneth Chikowore 78:48 and Robert Tan 80:03.For Reading AC Edward Stockdale (an Under 20) 77:58, Liz Hartney 82:36, Alex Reeve 84:54, Adam Gibbon 84:54, David Lewin 85:26, and Wayne Clements 85:38. The best Reading Jogger was Jonathan Snoxall 81:59, followed by Richad Coates 86:32, Mike Wheeler 88:53, and their first lady Jane Davies 95:13 (believed to be the first FV 55 but the race is very slow to publish category winners these days).

Reading Half Marathon 2015

Race run in good condiditions on 22nd March. New revised course that was supposed to be faster but winner Kenyan Amos Kiplagat only did modest 63:10.Much slower than many previous times. The first local runner was Reading AC's Daniel Thorne who was 29th in 67:37.Jack Gregory (also Reading AC) was 66th 70:42. Total numbers were down on recent years, 13300 but swtill good support from Reading Clubs with Reaing Roadrunners 190 and Reading Joggers over 70.

Reading Half Marathon 2016

The race run on 3rd April in good weather. again on the revised course that was suppoed to be faster but the time was one of the slowest. The winner was Robert Mbith in 63:57 well ahwad of the rest led home by Scott Overall 2nd with 65:13.

The numbers of finishers was down for the second successive year dropping from 13300 to 10880. and the lowest for six years. The event that was the first to introduce wheelchair athletes into road races in 1983 only had one this time.  Great support from local clubs with Reading Roadrunners 184, Reading Joggers 58 and Reading AC 23.

The leading local runners were Seb Briggs 62nd 74:28, Keith Russell 64th 75:34,  Mark Worringham   76th 76:32, David McCoy 75th 76:29 and Jamie Smith 90th 76:37 all Reading Roadrunners and chip times. The top two Reading A.C runners were Rebecca Hilland 72nd 76:19 and a great performnce 3rd female, and Simon Goldsworthy 75th 75:21 and 8th under23 years.

Good to see members of my family having good runs, my greatneice Gemma Buley  1:42.24 and husband Chris 1:42.42. My son Jon Eldon who had run close to 70 minutes in the early days of the race did 1 :51.03 and is now in the 55 plus category.

Reading Half Marathon 19th March 2017


A good day, dry but very windy. No overxseas runners or wheelchairs and it was a Brit winner Andy Vernon (Aldershot, Farnham and District) in 63:08 from fellow team runner Chris Thompson 63:39 and Swansea's Dewi Griffiths 63:54. They were two minutes ahead of the rest. It was a double win for Aldershot as the first female was Charlotte Purdue in 58th with 72:15. The field was down again with just 9720 finishers.

A good turnout as usual from the three Reading Clubs, Reading Roadrunners with 182, Reading Joggers 52  and Reading AC 31. The leading local runners were Mark Worringham (RRR) 45th 71:06, Matthew Richards 60th 72:26 and Seb Briggs 81st and 74:01 (both RRR's). The leading Reading AC runner was Mark Booth 114th 75:57 from Rory Domville 120th 76:14.The top Reading Jogger was Alexander Whearity 187th  79:21.

The top female from Reading was Anna Boniface (Reading AC) 123rd in 76:35, from the ame team Naomi Mitchell was 209th in 80:12. Top Reading Roadrunner was Carrie Hoskins 333rd 85:21 and leading Reading Jogers was Helen Garforth 99:11.


Sad that the event  which was the first in the country to accept wheelchair athletes had no entrants this year for the first time.



 

 

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