15,500 Runners in Reading on Sunday 19 March

AROUND 15,500 runners will be pounding the streets of Reading on Sunday 19th March as the Vitality Half Marathon comes to town once again.

A field made up of elite athletes and enthusiastic amateurs will be covering the 13.1 mile course at a variety of speeds. Many participants will be running to raise money for charities and hundreds more are expected to line the streets to urge them on.

Race organisers have once again kept the same ‘flatter and faster route’ which they say proved popular with marathon runners in recent years.

Participants will gather at Green Park for a 10.15am start before winding their way through Reading – including through the University campus – and reaching the Town Centre where huge crowds will welcome them. They will then make their way south once more with the final straight taking runners into the Madejski Stadium.

A full route map can be found at www.readinghalfmarathon.com under the ‘race info’ heading.

As always, residents and visitors are being given forward notice of the large number of road closures on the day. A series of rolling closures and diversions will be in place at a variety of times, with some starting at 7am and finishing at 3pm. A full guideline of the timings on the rolling closures can be found at www.reading.gov.uk/halfmarathon.

Roads will be re-opened as soon as runners have passed through and it is safe to do so. Residents and visitors are being asked to plan ahead and allow extra times for their journeys if they need to travel anywhere on the day.

Councillor Paul Gittings, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Culture and Sport, said:

“The Reading half marathon is one of the sporting highlights of the calendar. There is always a great atmosphere amongst the runners and spectators and I hope as many people as possible turn out on the day and cheer on the runners.

“The event brings with it a great many benefits to the town but as always we ask local residents to check their journey plans for Sunday 19th March and to allow some extra time to travel.”

As well as the Vitality Reading Half Marathon, the event also includes the Green Park Challenge – at just under 3km it’s a superb fun run for all ages, again starting at Green Park and finishing at the Madejski Stadium, and the Hilton Hotel Corporate Challenge.

The full list of closures online at www.reading.gov.uk/halfmarathon. Residents can phone 0118 937 2771 in advance or on the day if they require further information on road closures.

All Town Centre car parks will open as normal, apart from Oracle Riverside, which will open at 12.40pm – use Oracle Holy Brook. The Household Waste Recycling Centre and access to Link Retail Park will open around 3.00pm.

Main arterial routes in the town centre will remain open: North: A4074 Woodcote Rd to A4155 to IDR and A4155 Henley Rd to IDR. East: J10 – A329 Wokingham Rd – London Rd – Sidmouth St – Queen’s Rd – IDR. West: J12 – Bath Rd – Honey End Lane – Tilehurst Rd – Water Rd & Grovelands Rd – Oxford Rd – Chatham St –IDR.

Access from the South will be restricted as runners get underway. Visitors travelling into Reading on the M4 are advised to use junctions 10 and 12 until 2pm to avoid delays

Access to Hospitals:

Royal Berkshire Hospital: Access from London Road; Berkshire Independent Hospital: access from Bath Rd/Berkeley Avenue; Dunedin Hospital: access from IDR – Castle Hill – Bath Rd access lane (allow for delay). Circle Hospital: access via Basingstoke Rd and Manor Farm Road.