I grew up in Bracknell and it’s always been at the back of my mind to take part in the local half marathon. I did enter on a whim really knowing it was probably too soon after London, but a running buddy from BFR kind of persuaded me to run with her as it was her first half marathon. I’m glad I did it, though once again my legs hate me and I’m on a mission to sort that problem out ! I didn’t have any expectation of time as all my friend wanted to do was to finish.
As this was my first Bracknell HM I can’t compare it to the old course as it’s now run in reverse and has a new start and finish at the new Lexicon shopping centre. I have to say I did enjoy it – yes the course is challenging in parts due to the hills and there are a fair few of them. Support is light in places, but I quite liked that at times – it was just nice to run and chat with Naomi and take in the scenery – yes Bracknell does have some lovely spots. The hill at the Hilton was horrible and we walked that to be met by three youngsters doing the “floss” dance – made us laugh and no we didn’t join in. The last few miles saw a bit more support running through Crown Wood and Forest park and then back to the town centre. I loved the finish – running up through the new town centre, there was plenty of cheering and encouragement from the crowd.
Bracknell HM is well marshalled along the complete route, plenty of water stations and sponges being handed out too. I haven’t a bad word to say about it, but then I’m a Bracknell girl at heart, it’s where I grew up and it did me proud ❤
Well marshalled. Hilly. A challenge. Small, local and friendly.
I’m not familiar with Bracknell so really didn’t know what to expect with regards to the route. Great support all the way round. Lots of underpasses and fantastic support at the end. Well organised. Definitely one to run again next year.
I ran my first ever half marathon last year at Bracknell and having run a few more since then I of course had to return to Bracknell this year. With the switch in locations, came the goodwill of free parking right in town. It was good to see lots of friends running before we started, some of whom I got to know from running the race last year so it was a bit of reunion for us. The race started right by Waitrose and headed through town and onto one of the many dual carriageways which wasn’t closed in any way so whilst we all jostled for space on the footpath the very few cars had plenty of space on the roads – tip for next year Bracknell forest – get these roads closed. The route was quite tight in places, tight turns and ups and downs through the subways plus an evil hill at around mile 10 through a wooded area. Overall though, I enjoyed the run despite suffering from a chesty cough which took its toll on the hills. The local support was great and the finish was immense with the crowds cheers echoing through the town. Only Bracknell could switch the scenic finish of the grounds of South Hill Park to outside of Primark!!
Bracknell half marathon is one of my favourites and being on my door step has always been a race I’ve tried to do. The race previously started at south hill park but this year was hailed as starting at the new Lexicon centre and the course has changed which meant it was irresistible to sign up for! It was also an opportunity for me to test my recovery from the chest infection I’d had earlier in April which had put me out of action for nearly two weeks and resulted in having to withdraw from the London marathon.
On the day of the Bracknell half, we all gathered at the new start in the centre of town where local clubs were very well represented and of course a strong contingent from SJs!
Off we headed at 9 on the new course which in the main was the old course but anti clockwise and had the added bonus of running down Harvest Ride not up it!
The course itself was fairly technical with a few tight turns, more lumps and bumps than you’d expect and it was a little warm but all of this was countered by some fantastic support and marshaling around the course. The finish back at the lexicon was amazing with the noise of the crowds adding an extra boost for all of us finishing. Fab goodie back as well! Personally I was delighted with my run and took a huge confidence boost from it. It was really lovely to see my SJ teammates at the end and everyone looked like they’d enjoyed themselves. The changes to the start and finish and course mean I’ll definitely be back next year…..Well done everyone!!
Bracknell was a really well supported event both the community & Marshalls were top! Although the course wasn’t easy, the shear number of supporters to keep you going + refreshments readily available made the course enjoyable.
Bracknell was always famous for it’s underpass system, meaning you could navigate your way round and avoiding the roads. The half marathon makes great use of those networks to take your on a tour of a town I grew up in. It’s become more scenic over time, but one thing you certainly noticed alongside the scenic route were the numerous gradients. Running the course in reverse meant running down Harvest ride, this was heaven, well you’d think it was. The slight change in the course meant the elevation in total was worse, my legs discovered this and this race became a battle of will. I did survive the onslaught of hills and a warm spring day to finish in 1:55. With a distinct lack of proper training and asthma to contend with I can only be happy with that. See you next year Bracknell, hills included.
I ran the Bracknell Half Marathon last year, and also work in the town, so I knew pretty much all of the course despite the changes for this year. The free parking with race number worked well. The High Street car park is close to the start and finish, and has toilets. The start area by Waitrose involved a bit of shuffling to get everyone the right side of the start line. I didn’t mind the lack of a proper bag drop as the car park was nearby and the day warm. Hopefully the last of the building work will be finished for next year. The course is still undulating… Actually more so as it is downhill away from the town centre at the start and the opposite at the finish. The up of Long Hill Road (not that long, but definitely a hill) was expected and the mostly down this time of Harvest Ride was appreciated – I made good time here, helping me get under 1 hr 40 min (just). However, the up past South Hill Park to The Hilton was a bit of an unwelcome surprise. Although there is a lot of street-side running, there are also plenty of leafy cycle paths away from traffic – one chap passing me commented on how scenic Mill Park near McDonald’s was. I would only complain about the London Road section in and out of the town centre – the pavement is not that wide, so shutting a lane of the dual carriageway would be helpful. There was plenty of support, marshalling and water on the way round. All very welcome as the weather started to heat up and my left knee started to hurt. The finishing straight was fantastic, through the “tunnel” from Fenwick to Primark, with lots of cheering and clapping. Finish line freebies were: water and t-shirt, then medal, Lucozade, Mars bar and two sachets of porridge in a drawstring-rucksack-bag thing. I see no reason not to do it again!
This was my 17 year old daughter Amy’s first Half Marathon so I was really excited to be taking part with her. She’d recently been suffering with a shin injury so I wasn’t sure if she’d manage it. It was due to this I was expecting us to finish around 2hr 40. We set off at the back of the pack behind the 2hr 30 pacers. The water stations were frequent and the sponges at each station were very refreshing (It was a warm day, but thankfully not scorching). Amy was setting the pace but I didn’t think she would keep it up (she was pushing me on as I was now running faster than I had anticipated!) After a few miles we passed the 2:30 pacer! At around mile 9 I realised we were on for my PB! I was picking up the pace a bit but Amy was starting to tire so we got our heads down and I encouraged her to push through the last few miles. It was a great bonding experience made even more special by the fantastic reception at the finish line as we crossed together in 2hrs 25mins and some seconds! (2 minutes taken off my PB!)
The whole experience was great, it was nice seeing so many familiar faces from Bracknell Parkrun. I expected more running on roads, but most of the paths were wide enough and we certainly got to see many of the underpasses Bracknell is famed for! The start/finish in the Lexicon was nice, although my wife and daughters decided to catch up on some shopping after we’d finished when all I wanted was a nice soak in the bath!!
Bracknell was my 2nd half marathon which I was hoping to be more relaxed about, but having surprised myself with 2.01ish at Wokingham in Feb, I was feeling a bit of pressure to get sub 2 hours, despite Bracknell being hillier. (I know, I know, its not about the time, but when you’re that close, you have to give it a shot…) Now, I am quite an expert on endurance faffing and this weekend was no exception. Following a severe altercation between my left foot and a bed leg the night before, it took me 2h20 (i.e. longer than my actual run time) to get ready & out on the Sunday. In between getting lost in Bracknell’s many roundabouts, & resolving a wardrobe malfunction in a portaloo 3 minutes before the start, I got a much-needed quick hit of emergency calmness in the form of Caroline Cutliffe and Jackie Kent. Then Charlie St Aubyn took over as he kindly offered to help pace sub 2 hours. No time for warm up, and we were off, narrowly missing smacking into a post box in the first 100 metres (they really should move that next year). Most of the race then passed in a blur of underpasses, Waitrose warehouses, numerous encouraging marshals, amazing supporters (sponges – what a fab idea), oh and plenty of hills. Not that steep but seemingly lots of them. I felt really tired only 2-3 miles in (usually I’m ok for the first 5-6 miles of a long run), so had a real mental wobble at that point. Fortunately it passed & I tried some gels at 6 and 10 miles but in hindsight could have done with them earlier as they seem to take a good 40 minutes to kick in. Was great to see Jackie again at mile 8 and she was soon gone, clearly having a fantastic run. Charlie provided consistent encouragement throughout – to me and also other random bemused runners (whether they wanted it or not), interspersed with assurances that the hills were fewer and smaller than they seemed to me. Somehow this strategy was effective, as we arrived in just under 1h57, so v happy with that, and a huge thank you to Charlie! Amazing crowd support at the finish – not something I’ve experienced before in my short running career, and it gave me some small idea of why people do the London Marathon. As soon as I stopped, I realized just how much my left foot was throbbing, so a recovery coffee & chat with fellow SJs afterwards was the perfect antidote. Definitely back next year, tho will be up at 5am and try to avoid close encounters with heavy furniture next time.
The cheers of the crowd really made me feel like a celebrity as I crossed the line! We got goodie bags, technical shirts and water after the finish and then after collecting my bag, I met up with a few others in my favourite coffee shop for a hot chocolate before heading home for a shower and a sleep!