Reading Half roars back with 6,500 field
Reading Half Marathon's 38th running sees PBs tumble
The 38th Unleashed Performance Reading Half Marathon (inaugurated in 1983) and Green Park Challenge, organised by Goldline Events, returned to the county town of Berkshire beside the River Thames on Sunday (7 November) after a year's absence due to the pandemic.
Previous editions of this forerunner of mass participation 13.1-mile races have attracted top quality fields and huge numbers of up to 15,000 participants. This year saw a big step back towards normality as 6,020 finished the main event in just over four hours.
Quality was evident at the head of the throng that set off from Green Park to head for the University of Reading, crossing the River Thames in the town centre, before looping around Prospect Park and heading for the spectacular finish inside Madejski Stadium.
After little over an hour of combat, it was Ethiopian Omar Ahmed (Birchfield Harriers, 1:02:14) who emerged as the Reading Half Marathon champion for 2021 with a 74-second PB in front of a cheering crowd in the home of Reading FC. Paulos Surafel (Thames Valley Harriers, 1:03:18 PB) and Joshua Grace (Aldershot, 1:05:14) completed the men's rostrum.
Philippa Bowden (Aldershot, 1:13:29) led the women's results with a two-minute PB from Reading AC's Naomi Mitchell (1:14:25) and Australia's Michelle Pearson (Belgrave Harriers, 1:14:41 PB).
The best illustration of the potential of this swift course came in the depth of quality performances, with almost 150 running 80 minutes and nearly 450 inside 90 minutes.
The supporting Green Park Challenge – a family fun run of approximately 3000m – attracted a further 421 runners and the fastest of those were Brandon Chaplin (17) in 9:37 and Carys Wescott (14) who was the first female in 9:59.
Results and previous Reading Half Marathon articles are available at runABC South race listing here
Earlybird discounts are available for 2022 Reading Half Marathon here
Library image courtesy Goldline Events/Reading Half Marathon