Celebrating 25 years of the half-marathonBy Mike Pyle
April 15, 2009
The Bracknell Half-Marathon is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
Runners gathered at the start line of the first half-marathon in 1984, the year Torvill and Dean performed the Bolero to win gold at the Winter Olympics and Virgin Airways made its maiden flight to America.
Among those who took part were Bracknell MP Andrew MacKay and Reading Half-Marathon organiser Chris Sumner.
Mr MacKay, who was 34 at the time, said: “I had my arm twisted to enter by [Bracknell Forest councillor] Iain McCracken – it was my first and last half-marathon!
“The good news is that I actually managed to beat Iain and I did it in what I think is a reasonable time – just over an hour-and-a-half, but then I was a lot younger 25 years ago!
"I found the whole experience exhilarating!”
Chris Sumner, 50, has competed in races all over the country and now works as events organiser for running shop Sweatshop.
The seventh Reading Half-Marathon he organised took place on Sunday, March 29.
On his appearance in Bracknell in 1984, he got into a bit of a sticky situation.
Chris said: “The main thing I realised when I heard the race is 25 years old is how old I am!
“I remember it finishing outside the [South Hill Park] arts centre and I remember a lot of underpasses!
"At the end they gave me a sugary energy drink and I remember mistaking it for water and pouring the whole lot over my head – I had to go home all sticky!”
Nowadays the race attracts more than 1,000 entrants and is sponsored by Quintiles.
This year's race will take place on May 10, but preparation work starts much earlier.
On the Tuesday before the race, the office will be set up at South Hill Park.
A team will start checking the course at 5am on race day before the organiser arrives at 6am.
Marshals and organisations who man the water stations gather at their spot around the course from 8.30am before the police start enforcing road closures at 8.55am.
The race officially finishes at midday but medical services will remain in place until the last runner crosses the line at South Hill Park.