Reading Half

Three days ago now I took part in the Reading Half Marathon, and I’m still feeling a smug after-glow from the event, I have to admit. My first half marathon was the Oxford Half last October, and that was a pretty unpleasant experience as I started off too fast meaning the last few miles were utterly awful. I resolved at the time never to do another half marathon, yet within days I’d signed up for the Edmonton Half Marathon this August (the in-laws live there).

A little later, I figured I’d sign up for Reading too since I work at the university, which is on the route, and over the last six months I’ve started running to work regularly, hence plodding along many of the streets that form the route for the Reading Half.

The contrast between Oxford and Reading halves couldn’t be more stark; there’s a mere 60 seconds between the times in which I completed each 5km segment of the race, which stunned me in terms of consistency of pace. Of course, I was generally very close to the 1:45 pacer throughout which helped, but all throughout the run this felt like it was about the right pace I was hoping to set, and indeed in the final few kms I left the pacer behind.

The other thing that surprised me about this run was how much I enjoyed the road-side support, in particular the bands playing live music throughout. I hadn’t thought I’d be particularly bothered by it, but I found the music really helped give me a boost each time I passed any source of music, even if it was someone blazing music out of their house on a stereo.

Reading 5

Yesterday I ran a 5 mile race – my first, mainly because it’s a race at my workplace, running around the very pleasant University of Reading campus: The Reading 5 Mile Race 2016.

Here’s the view from the “start line”:

2016-02-14 10.56.49

Though perhaps not the most polished finish line or race organisation, nonetheless this was far from the worst race I’ve run (Coventry 10k gets that vote). The race began on time, the organisers were friendly and they sent out numbers in the post ahead of the day.

Here’s a very serious looking photo of me just before the start:2016-02-14 10.57.22

I took a less serious one, as my wife moaned that this one looked way too serious. But I looked quite scary in that one, so I’m not posting it.

 

Here’s post race – a time of just over 40 minutes (but less than 5 minutes per km which was pleasing) for the 8.4km, plus a medal, made me reasonably happy:ArE-o0hfJsHOl1wlwwcKsl6cDR9heH_7fQB412kEwmNC

In addition, post-race jaffa cakes along with the distinctive medal, bumps this race up significantly in my own personal rankings of running events.