One of the fastest, flattest and most popular half marathons in Britain has just announced its date for 2017. The 34th Vitality Reading Half Marathon, organised by Sweatshop, will take place on Sunday, March 19, with a spectacular finish in front of cheering crowds inside the 25,000-seat Madejski Stadium, home of Reading FC.
Last month there were 10,984 finishers in 4hrs 42mins and the winners were Robert Mbithi (Run Fast, 1:03:57) and Jenny Nesbitt (Worcester, 1:12:54), making a remarkable debut at 13.1 miles. The leading GB man was Scott Overall (Blackheath, 1:05:13) but only after a full blooded battle for the line with Chris Thompson (Aldershot, 1:05:14) and Paul Martelletti (Run Fast, 1:05:15).
The first Reading Half Marathon in 1983 - won by 21-year-old Reading University student Mark Curzons (1:07:45) - attracted a surprisingly large field for the time of 5,000 runners and the event has been growing steadily since.
Sweatshop took over race organisation in 2003 and several changes have been made to iron out unnecessary lumps and incorporate that amazing finish. The course still passes through a packed town centre and the beautiful grounds of the University campus and it is suitable for all standards from beginner to elite.
Early bird discounted entry is now available for this world-record setting event. Last month Scott Forbes, a BA Pilot from Wokingham, ran the race in a blue three piece suit in 1:18:13, breaking the Guinness World Record for the 'Fastest Half Marathon in a Suit'.
Full details are at the race website