Reading Half Marathon – Being on the ‘other side’…

As you all know, I had to pull out of the Reading half this year, due to a hamstring injury, which I can now say is completely healed and I’ve had clearance from my physiotherapist to start running/training again – woohoo – and so decided to volunteer instead. On Friday morning, I saw a post on the Reading Half facebook page, looking for volunteers to help out on race day. I thought to myself, why not, I’m not running and being part of this large event, would be fun. I emailed the events manager and was set up ready to go by the end of the day – plus my mum decided to come with me too!

Sunday morning arrived, 6am to be precise….a quick breakfast before loading into the car to be at the Madejski Stadium for 7am briefing! We were given our stations (handing out medals!), food ticket and t-shirts and hoodies before heading off to find coffee and warmth! The conditions were grey and very windy, not the greatest running conditions, but it wasn’t raining – a real plus!

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Finish line in the Madejski Stadium

Once we had found coffee and layered up, we headed to the ‘funnel’, where the medals for both the Green Park Challenge and the half, were waiting for us. We were given tables to lay them all out, ready to load our arms up before the runners started arriving. I have to say, I haven’t seen so many medals in my life!
As the first group of runners started finishing and coming through, it was really great to see a mixture of different ages and abilities running. The smiles on most of their faces, from both runs, was priceless. A real sense of accomplishment, and I can totally relate to how they all felt.
I also managed to meet a few wonderful people who I follow on Instagram and have been chatting to, as well as running with, that day! Charlotte, Charlie (who is my 5am running buddy) and The Reluctant Guru all ran great times, despite the windy conditions and unexpected hills! It was lovely to congratulate and give them a well done hug, too!!

As the rest of the runners filtered through, many looking slightly dazed/overcome with emotion after running their first half, to some jumping for joy and excitement to collect their well deserved medal, I got a real sense of respect and completely different view of these races. Being on the ‘other side’/not running, made me realize how important volunteers are at events/runs like this. They play such a huge role in making it all happen and run smoothly, which I didn’t really appreciate as much as I thought.
So, to all of you who are reading this and have volunteered at such events, thank you, because without you, they wouldn’t run half as smoothly as they do!

We arrived home, exhausted ourselves, but happy that we had the pleasure of being part of such a fun and well put together event. I would definitely recommend volunteering, if you are a runner/sporty, or not! The atmosphere is buzzing and there are smiles all around!

A huge well done to all of those who ran! Have a lovely weekend 🙂

Emma xx

P.S. Here’s the link to a great vlog from the run guru, of Sunday’s race, which I’m excited to say I’m featured in!! If you don’t follow him on Instagram or youtube, go and do it now! He’s a really positive person, with a great sense of humor and really inspires me to run!

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