Sunday’s 33rd Reading Half Marathon saw more than 12,000 runners take on the prestigious race, with many surpassing their personal best race times as well as raising thousands of pounds for charitable causes and for the first time in the race’s history, a Guinness World Record was set.
There was an incredible atmosphere at the start line in Green Park, alive with energy and an abundance of colour as Olympic 400m sprinter Iwan Thomas MBE, Sir John Madejski and Reading Mayor Sarah Jane Hacker set runners on their way. This continued across the town with roaring spectators lining the pavements for the runners throughout the 13.1 mile route. Thousands more filled the race village and the Madejski Stadium to join in the celebrations that erupted around the finish line.
Scott Forbes, a BA Pilot from Wokingham, ran the whole race in a blue three piece suit in a time of 1.18.13 breaking the Guinness World Record for the ‘Fastest Half Marathon in a Suit’. Scott commented: “I’m absolutely ecstatic that I’ve managed to beat the world record, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I was so hot and it felt like I was running through mud – I’m just glad it’s over and it was all worth it!”
Iwan Thomas, MBE comments: “A massive well done to all who took part today! The atmosphere was truly incredible – the sun was out, support from the crowd was immense, and the varied entertainment helped keep everyone on form throughout the course. I also beat my Reading half course best by five minutes so it was an all-round great day. I would highly recommend getting involved in next year’s race so you can experience this superb event first hand.”
In the men’s race, Robert Mbithi dominated the race crossing the line in 1 hour, 3 minutes and 57 seconds.
In the women’s race, Jenny Nesbitt took the top spot competing in her first ever half marathon and completing the course in 1 hour, 12 minutes and 54 seconds. She said: “I honestly can’t believe I’ve won my first ever half marathon. We’ve had beautiful weather and the course is amazing, I can’t wait to come back next year and run it even faster!”
Adam Gentry, 37, from Banbury ran the race as ‘Zoom the Raccoon’ the mascot of one of this year’s official race charities, Blue Skye Thinking. Sally Hall, founder of the charity, comments: “Once again, the Reading Half Marathon has been a fantastically successful event. It was humbling and indeed an enormous privilege to have so many runners choose to run for Blue Skye Thinking again this year, and all of them experienced the warmth and enthusiasm from the throng of well-wishers en route. The support on the road was tremendous!”
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. Mayor Sarah Jane Hacker started the race with Sir John Madejski and commented: “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 Reading Half in a few years to come!”
Judith Manson, Race Director, describes the event as a huge success: “A big congratulations to all the participants that took part in the race on this beautifully sunny Sunday. Reading has once again played host to a fantastic event with so many dedicated runners crossing the finish line as first timers, charity fundraisers or seasoned elites – and even a world record holder! The success of the day would not be possible without the fantastic efforts from our team of events staff, marshals and volunteers so I’d like to say a huge thank you to them as well as to our partners, sponsors and charities for their continued support.”
For further details on this year’s event visit www.readinghalfmarathon.com