My post before last (here) was written just after missing out on free entry to the Reading Half Marathon via Running Heroes. I managed to get that free entry anyhow, and as a result I ran the Bath and Reading half marathons on consecutive weeks thanks to Running Heroes – only paying the train fare to each (both being different directions along the Great Western Railway from me).
As well as being struck by chopping ten minutes off my usual half marathon time to record two times just over an hour and thirty five minutes, I remembered something that’s probably fairly unique to the Reading half, from the previous year.
At the start, you’re bombarded my music everywhere (which is great), but almost as soon as you start, you cross the line, the music fades into the distance behind you, and there’s nothing to replace it for the first two kilometres, until you get out of Green Park and back into “normal” Reading.
And it’s just the sound of hundreds and hundreds of feet pounding the road surface – not quite glorious silence, but a different type of noise, strangely peaceful in its constancy.
Once through those first couple of kms, you’re into Reading itself, with the almost constant support throughout the remaining 19 or so kms, the nightclub noise on London Street, the Christian worship bands on Hartland Road and the steel drummers beneath the A329 flyover by the Oracle centre. As it goes through my workplace, the University of Reading, I’m starting to see this as something of my “home” race of sorts. We’ll see about the 2018 variant in good time…