Fitness fanatics, fundraisers and seasoned runners alike took to the streets of Reading for Sunday’s 34th Vitality Reading Half Marathon. From club runners hunting a new personal best, to first time charity runners donning fancy dress costumes for their loved ones, the atmosphere was electric at the prestigious race.

The start line was alive with energy and a rainbow of club and charity running vests.  Iwan Thomas MBE, Sir John Madejski and Mayor Mohammed Ayub set the 10,000 runners on their way through the streets of Reading. There was an incredible atmosphere throughout the town, with roaring spectators lining the pavements for the runners of the 13.1-mile route. Hundreds more flooded into the Madejski Stadium, treating every runner to a hero’s finish.

Iwan Thomas MBE, comments: “Although I’m not the fittest right now, I wanted to run and start the race because the Vitality Reading Half Marathon is an amazing event, the support, the camaraderie and the course are all fantastic. I didn’t run my fastest time, but I really enjoyed it and I’ll definitely be back next year. A massive congratulations to everyone who took part – I hope to see you all again next year, and hopefully many new faces as well!”

In the men’s race, Andy Vernon dominated the race crossing the line in a time of 1:03:08, followed by Chris Thompson in 1:03:39 and Dewi Griffiths, who crossed the line in a time of 1:03:54 to take third place.

In the women’s race, Charlotte Purdue raced clear of the field to take top spot, completing the course in 1:25:15. She was followed by Gemma Steel, with a race time of 1:13:17 and Katrina Wootton, who took home third place crossing the line in 1:14:18.

Judith Manson, Race Director, comments: “A huge congratulations to each and every runner that took part in the race this weekend. Every year we are bowled over by the hard work and dedication of the half marathon runners. The town of Reading never fails to host such a fantastic event and this year was no exception. I’d like to thank our partners and the Madejski Stadium, and congratulate all the volunteers, supporters and of course the runners themselves for contributing to such an exhilarating day!

Neville Koopowitz, CEO of Vitality, adds: “We are thrilled to see so many runners take part in today’s Vitality Reading Half Marathon, it was a fantastic turnout and we can’t wait for our next event in the Vitality Run Series.”

The popular 3km Green Park Challenge ahead of the main race provided the option to run together with more than 1,500 children and families taking to the course. Sir John Madejski, who started the race with Mayor Mohammed Ayub, said: “This is a fantastic introduction in to running and is so accessible for so many people. We hope to see those runners involved in the Vitality Reading Half in a few years to come!”

The event organisers expect the race to raise over a million pounds for charity. For further details on this year’s event visit www.readinghalfmarathon.com