14 Mar

Spoiled For Choice This Weekend

Reading Half Marathon

With more than 40 events in the runABC South comprehensive race listings for this weekend we are starting to hit peak time for the spring race programme. The wise will have entered the Sage Reading Half Marathon on Sunday (18 March) for a fast time and thrilling stadium finish, while others might choose a rather different challenge...

Reading Half Marathon was an instant hit when 5,000 runners contested the first event at Reading University in 1983. Sweatshop has been organising the event since 2003 and Sage UK are the new headline sponsors for 2018. The race now attracts 15,000 runners and boasts one of the most spectacular finishes inside the magnificent Madejski Stadium. 
 
Of course, its not all about fast times or fancy dress fund raising efforts. With so many events available it is quite easy to get off the beaten track and find something unusual to tackle. How about the fabulous New Forest where there is a two day Running Festival over the weekend with distances from 10k to 50 mile ultra to choose from?
 
Runners might have to 'mind the gap' on Saturday at the Endurance Life Coastal Trail Series from Birling Gap, Sussex on the famous 'Seven Sisters'. All the races from 10k to 34 mile ultra are very hilly, with the longest run featuring 5,482 feet of ascent.  
 
The classic Finchley 20 is on Sunday from Hillingdon AC clubhouse at Ruislip, Middlesex. This is the longest running 20-mile race in the UK and has a very reasonable entry fee of £24 for club runners. There are course record and time bonuses but do not expect the men's (1:39:01) or women's (1:58:38) to be lowered. The first race was held in 1933 and the record holders are Bill Adcocks (Coventry Godiva, 1972) and Angie Hulley (Leeds City, 1991).
 
Finally, we highlight The Grizzly on Sunday at Seaton Esplanade in Devon. The race title says it all and we recommend that everyone put The Grizzly on their race bucket list. As the race website says: “May the Course be with you”! It is all about the course, of course, modestly described as: “Twentyish muddy, hilly, boggy, beachy miles of the multiest-terrain running experience you will find this side of the end of time”.  As race promoter Marc Davis says: “All it takes is all you've got”.  
 
Fast half marathon, classic 20 miler or something completely different? Whatever you decide the results will be on runABC South race listings brought to you in association with Sports Tours International
 
Image courtesy Reading Half Marathon