First Grand Prix race this Sunday

Reading Half

The Mizuno Reading Half Marathon Grand Prix opener boasts the best domestic field of the year over 21km.

Approximately 70 men are likely to run the half marathon distance in under 70 minutes and 30 women are likely to go sub 80. Without doubt, this will be an outstanding event as they will be joined by thousands of club runners and charity runners at the event on Sunday morning that starts with the Green Park 2.8km family challenge at 8:30 am. The main 21km race will get underway at 10:15 am with the wheelchair event starting 15 minutes earlier at 10:00 am. Despite the adverse weather that the Thames Valley has experienced over the last few weeks, the course, that finishes in front of the stands in the Madjeski Football Stadium, has remained flood free.

Both of Britain's leading male and female marathon runners, Scott Overall (handicap -3.9) and Susan Partridge (handicap -1.3) will compete.


The women's race promises to be a highly competitive affair with debutant Charlotte Purdue (hanidcap 1.4) challenging the established stars of this event. Aly Dixon (handicap -0.5) is expected to be in the frame as is Julie Briscoe (handicap 0.4) and Tish Jones (handicap -0.3) who have shown good recent form.

Other notable entries in the women's race are Sonia Samuels (handicap 0.5), Emma Stepto (handicap -0.6), Jane Potter (handicap 3.4), Juliet Potter (handicap 0.7), Lorna Russell (handicap 0.4), Caryl Jones (handicap 1.5), Faye Fullerton (handicap 1.7), Natalie Harvey (handicap 9.7), Rebecca Robinson (handicap 1.6), Ali Lavender (handicap 1.4) and Amy Whitehead (handicap 0.6).


The men's race will also be a hard fought contest with, Ryan Mcleod (handicap -5.1), Jonny Hay (handicap -3.7), Lee Merrien (handicap -1.4), John Beattie (handicap -3.2)  and Phil Wicks (handicap -4.4) expected to feature at the front but you can expect at least one of the following to feature prominently too: Ben Livesey (handicap -4.5), Tom Payn (handicap -3.0), Sean Connolly (handicap -3.9), Luke Cragg (handicap -2.9), Tommy Davies (handicap -2.9), Matt Bond (handicap -3.7), and Chris Powner (handicap -2.3).


With the biggest individual prize fund in the UK, the rewards are substantial. Additionally, GB and NI selections will be made for the World Half Marathon Championship, that take place on 29 March in Copenhagen, after the event on Sunday.


The runbritain Grand Prix rewards points for all runners that finish in the top 250 men and women with 250 points for a win and 1 point for 250th place. Additional bonus points starting at 65 minutes and 71 minutes are available for men and women respectively.  Up to the four best scores from the six available races count at the end of the series.

Can you get on the score board in this first race of the Grand Prix?