Reading half marathon 2011 'will be biggest yet'

Reading half marathon 2009 This year will be the 29th Reading half marathon

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The Reading half marathon on Sunday is expected to be the biggest in its 28-year history, with 17,850 people running.

Race director Chris Sumner said that 8% of the "best runners in the country" had entered the event, the first leg of a new grand prix.

He said: "It's probably going to be the fastest half marathon we've ever had."

The 13.1-mile (22km) route is the second most popular in England. It may have 350 more runners this year.

The finishing line takes runners into Reading FC's Madejski stadium.

Mr Sumner said: "Most people that run the Reading half marathon are charity runners and fun runners, and they don't ever get to know what it feels like running into a stadium with 10,000 people cheering you on".

Reading half marathon history

  • The first race was run on 13 March 1983, with 5,000 runners taking part.
  • In 2001 the race was cancelled because of the Foot and Mouth outbreak.
  • In 2008 Patrick Makau from Kenya set a new record of 61 minutes and 19 seconds.
  • Also in 2008 Liz Yelling smashed the women's race record with a time of 69 minutes and 35 seconds.

He added: "I've heard people talking about it, they say they burst into tears because it's so emotional".

Last year Edwin Kipyego from Kenya won the race in 63 minutes and three seconds.

Mr Sumner said: "This year we've got eight good level Kenyan runners, so it's going to be a good competition at the front".

The runbritain grand prix has five events of which the Reading half marathon is the first. Runners accumulate points and win cash prizes.

Information on road closures and a map of the route are available from the Reading half marathon website.

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