The London Marathon may be the best known running event in the UK, but there’s one race that’s very close to my heart: I ran the very first Reading Half Marathon on 13th March 1983 and I’ll be running it again this year for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

Cathy Wakely & fellow runnersWhen the race was first held it started and finished at the Reading University Campus. I ran several in the following years and then had a long break until 4 years ago, when I started running it again each year. Last year the support I had was fantastic – 25 of my students from Chiltern College came along to volunteer and cheer me on!

The Reading Half Marathon was the first official run that I did. I chose it because it was in my home town and at that time there weren’t that many to choose from. Nowadays there’s a whole selection of 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathon, marathons and even ultra-marathons to pick from!

This year’s Reading Half Marathon is taking place on April 1 and only requires a £25 deposit. It’s actually a really big event, with 18,500 participants and it winds its way around town before ending inside the fantastic Madjeski Stadium. Nothing can beat the feeling when you cross the mat into the stadium at the finish!

I wanted to run for GOSHCC because Chiltern College has a long association with fundraising for the hospital and from this I have realised how dependent the hospital is on fundraising events to continue their vital life-saving work.

I would advise anyone running this half-marathon (or any other) this year to make sure they do some regular running from now on (at least 3 times a week, building distance gradually) and manage a run of around 10 miles before the event.

Cathy's Reading Half Marathon support team: the Chiltern College students!

That way they will be fit enough to really enjoy the event and they will, I hope, also be raising money for GOSHCC!

Find out more about the Reading Half Marathon on the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity website. If you’re not ready for a half-marathon yet, or think that sounds too easy there are plenty of different races from 5k to ultra-marathon. Why not start planning & training for one today?

Want to take on your first race in 2012? Or are you simply looking for a new running challenge? Find out more all the running events Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity is part of this year on our challenges website.

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