Reading vs Bath Half Marathon

OK have run Reading the last two years so thinking of a change to Bath, however it is two laps.

Has anyone run Bath and Reading and if so which one is better?

Not sure if I want to run Bath due to the laps, but fancy a change....



  • Havent done Reading but Bath is one big party atmosphere - I love it,  done it 4 times now and already registered for 2014. I don't mind 2 laps, it's great to cheer on the elites as they overtake you at 100mph, and you know what's coming up which helps when you working hard near the end - its flat and fast so good for PBs - highly recommend it, well organised and friendly.

  • Loved Bath this year, will probably do it in 2014 but was considering Reading as I liked to do different races. Highly recommended fast, flat, great support and the two laps didn't bother me at all. Go for it. Bath is by far my favourite done a few in the south west during last year and it would be the only one I would repeat.

  • Neither - do Fleet.

  • Have done both. Very busy, less PB potential as crowded.

    Reading better organisation but no tshirt. Both very expensive & on same day for 2014.

    id recommend Silverstone or Fleet instead.

  • Have done Reading and Silverstone.

    In Reading, you get the 2nd biggest half marathon in the country, epic ending in the football stadium, unique atmosphere on route, running through areas with big crowd support like the University, and town centre. Slightly dull last 3 miles or so on a dual carriageway, and cruel bit that takes you down a road out of the way just when you see the stadium in sight!

    Silverstone, I've done a few time, big time feel to it, put on by the London marathon organisers, ensuring a great organisation. Nowhere near the quality of field of Reading, sub 1hr 20 would probably get you top 15-20 or so these days, whereas at Reading that'd be 150-200 territory.

  • I'm thinking about Fleet... It says mildly undulating... Does that mean almost flat or is it hilly?
  • Or there is a local one round Dorney Lake that looks fast, but will be very small field. Hmmm options.
  • Curly - have you done any sort of race around Dorney Lake?  If you're very lucky with the wind, it could be very-PB, but it's dreadfully dull, and personally for a HM I'd rather go for a scenic route with a couple of lumps in (and a stronger field) even if a PB was my first priority.

    I can't help much here.  Never done Reading or Bath, but will be doing Bath next year having bagged a free place for being old and fast. image

  • The stadium finish at Reading is kinda cool ......... Ive never done the Bath HM, but have watched last years and as the city is kinda cool and interesting, I would imagine it would be a good one.

    Personally Id probably rather do the Bath half ..... as there are a lot of dull bits in Reading.

  • I have done Bath and loved it. Great support and friendly BUT I am pretty slow and it got crowded in places. If you are looking for  PB would say Silverstone better. Dull course (unless an F1 fan like me then it's fantastic!) but it's nice and wide with no bottlenecks. Little hilly but not bad.

    Fun = Bath

    PB = Silvertone

    Both = Bristol! 

    Hope this helps????

  • Ok so far looks like Bath, Fleet is the same weekend I have a 10k so will consider for following year, Silverstone just a tad to far...  Bristol am looking at that as a little later in the year image thanks all for the replies and suggestions.

  • Maybe the Bath course has changed since I last did it (about 9 years ago) but I made the mistake of thinking it would take the runners through Bath's (very nice) city centre. It didn't. It was more like two circuits of the industrial estate with the start and the finish on a one of Bath's nice bits. I don't think we saw anything else worth travelling to see, though it was interesting to compare petrol prices between the various gas stations we passed. Very disappointing. It was also the worst organisation of any race I've entered (but I'm presuming it must have improved since I did it).

    Reading is an event I've always liked though it's hardly much more scenic. Good crowd support and a genuine 'big race feel'. 

  • I've done Reading the last two years but will skip it next year.I have an OAP place guaranteed for Bath and will give it a go. Plus my better half prefers it for Shopping

  • DachsDachs ✭✭✭

    Having grown up near Bath, and now living in Reading, I can confirm that both have plenty of dull bits.

    Haven't run the Bath half since I was a teenager in 1995, but from my hazy memories, I think the support was more consistent round the course, unsurprising for a 2-lapper, whereas at Reading, you get fantastic support in some key areas (town centre, stadium, university, the Liebenrood Road corner), but there are areas like that final drag where there is very little.  Still a really good atmosphere in both though. 

    Also-Ran, is your better half particularly into the Edinburgh Woollen Mill then?

  • image She is from that area too (Bath not Edinburgh, although confusingly we lived in Edinburgh and never once went in the Edin Woollen Mill). Plus I'm a bit partial to a Swartz Brothers Burger. Hope they are as good as they used to be.

  • I had my first taste of ostrich in a burger place in Bath, about 20 years ago.  Would it be the same one?  I might see you there.

  • I like how this conversation is leading people to think Bath is full of unique boutique shops and eateries when in reality its all just the usual chains there ........ hell there is even two Nandos there now, within like 500 metres of each other.


  • I like how Mr A's idea of a 'unique boutique shop' is the Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

  • Forget about the chains Mr A - we want to know if it is Swartz Bros that do the ostrich burger. Post race food is the key to this question. 

  • actually I was thinking more of this 'Swartz Brothers Burger' place (havent heard of it, despite having been to Bath more times than you can shake a stick ....... but Im sure its cool)

    The fact that Ive seen the Edinburgh Woolen Mill in about 4 different towns and cities probably tipped off me off it wasnt really 'unique'


  • To be fair, if the brothers Swartz aren't cutting it with the ostrich, I'd be more than happy with half a chicken and chips with extra hot peri-peri sauce. (You never get enough chips though, do you.)

  • I thought you were only allowed in Edinburgh Woollen Mill if you arrived in the town on an organised tour coach, wore a label stating which tour you were on, follwed a guide holding an umbrella, and had a blue rinse (ladies) or wore lots of beige and elasticated trousers (gents). I might chance my luck on the day. Definitely Bath for me.


    The Bath 2 laps are soul destroying - there is a littlish lump half way around !

    The stadium finish is well worth the previous mileage

  • Ah - I was thinking EWM = boutique, Swartz Bros = eatery. Though now I kind of want a Nando's. Thanks Phil. image

  • DachsDachs ✭✭✭

    Sorry, I brought up the Edinburgh Woollen Mill, as it was the only thing I could think of shopping-wise that Bath could offer that Reading doesn't, unless you count actual souvenirs of Bath, union jack teddy bears and clotted cream fudge.

    Nice to see it's successfully derailed the thread though.

  • Why do people care about threads being derailed, the OP has already thanked us and told us that it looks like Bath is for her, so the job of the thread is done so now its a free for allimage


  • Bath has a great independent Kitchenware shop, and also a brilliant Bertinet Bakery that sells some of the finest sourdough around. I think Nandos is a 2 -2 result as I can think of 2 in Reading

    I do understand that the course is more important to some so will end my food and shopping requirements here, and get back to the important stuff.

    So which has the best goody bag?image


  • I wish Readings goody bag had a thermal blanket in it. Last year, through foolish reasons, I had parked the car 2 miles from the finish line and walked there after the race ......... I swear to god I was this close to having proper hypothermia (holds fingers close together). I have never been so cold.


  • Mr A nonymous wrote (see)

    I wish Readings goody bag had a thermal blanket in it. Last year, through foolish reasons, I had parked the car 2 miles from the finish line and walked there after the race ......... I swear to god I was this close to having proper hypothermia (holds fingers close together). I have never been so cold.


    I think they had an arbitrary rule that only the first 50% of finishers would get one image

  • Haha, well that doesnt work because according to the official results, there were 12,863 runners (well finishers anyway) ......... and my chip position was 5582.


Sign In or Register to comment.