What were you doing on March 13th 1983?
Perhaps you were doing the shopping, enjoying a day out or perhaps you hadn't even been born! We know exactly where these folk were on that day - they were on the start line of the very first Reading Half Marathon. A place they have taken up at every race since.
We asked our Reading Ever-Presents for their thoughts and memories as we look towards April 3rd and our 40th anniversary.
I remember the first event starting & finishing in the grounds of Reading University. It was an exciting day with a number of work colleagues taking part. My training took place on the track at Palmer Park, arranged by the wonderful Stan Eldon, who was one of the first organisers. I can still remember "Chariots of Fire" being played across Worton Grange as we ran.
Did I think I'd be an ever-present? Truthfully, health permitting, yes! The first event in 1983 gave me such a buzz, I realised it was something the meant a lot to me every year. It's been a constant in my adult life. In 2012, I even changed a holiday flight to America from the Saturday to the Monday after the race, so that I could take part. The family went on ahead but the race really does mean a lot to me.
I don't have a favourite medal out of them all but the first one is special for obvious reasons. God willing, I'll be back in 2023 and I hope to be going strong in 2032 for the 50th anniversary!
I'm very proud of the fact that I'm an Ever Present and I believe to be the only woman to have run every race.
I can remember being nervous at the first race - my husband and I had had to sort childcare for our three children amongst other things!
There are so many memories from the past 40 years - from running with friends, the days when the course ran through Caversham where I live, getting my PB in 1984 (01:42) when it was my turn to be 40, and of course running as St Trinian's schoolgirls with my good friends Sally and Sue.
Did I think I'd still be an ever-present? Absolutely! I'm aiming to do three more races and stop when I turn 80.
Like everyone else, my favourite medal is the first one - it's the one that started me off on this incredible journey. And as for 2023? Where do I sign up?
To be honest, on 13th March 1983, I was petrified that I wouldn't finish and to think, I'm still here in 2022 and (knees permitting) I'm already thinking about 2023.
Like Kevin, my favourite medal is the first on - it's simple and classy! 1985 was my PB year and also memorable as I did it with my brother.
Things have changed over the years but one memory from races gone by was the sight and sound of the ladies on Elgar Road as they banged their pots and pans to cheer us on! Things might be different this year but they'll no doubt be just as noisy!
That first race was actually my first road run! I was a keen footballer playing competitively each Saturday and Sunday so I actually hadn't done much road running training! I didn't know what to expect but the event was totally awesome and the "Chariots of Fire" music was inspirational and uplifting.
After the experience of the first run there was no way I was going to miss the next year and I can honestly say that feeling has continued after every run since. I have no intention of relenting any time soon.
A personal highlight was running with my three brothers and winning the Family Event! Recently, I ran with a young woman called Helen who had not done a half marathon before. I kept her motivated on the last mile and we both enjoyed the experience.
In 2017 I finished the race with my son Adrian (above) and my other son Kevin has also completed the race.
I've had injuries and conditions but nothing stops me from being on the start line, and I've no plans to stop any time soon!
13th March 1983 was the date of my first ever half marathon. I did not know what to expect, nor how to pace myself so I found the last few miles which were uphill from the town centre back then, a bit tough!
From those early days, I never expected to still be an ever-present, but I've set the goal now to be the last Ever-Present standing so watch this space.
I'll never forget the sight of Sir John Madejski standing in a deluge of rain one year, congratulating each and every finisher as they crossed the line - what a gentleman. 1988 though will be my favourite year as this is when I set my PB -01:20. I was even amongst the leaders on Shinfield Road, though that didn't last long!
Other great memories include post-race booze ups - but I'll leave that to your imagination.
Will I be back in 2023? You can bet on it!
I have to say that my memories of the 1983 race are limited. We did live on the course route back then so I knew my family would give me a shout as I passed!
By the late 80's and early 90's, the race was very much a "must-do" thing and the thought of doing this for 50 years came fixed in my mind.
1989 was my favourite race as I finished sub 1:22 - see photo above!
The last 15 years, I've been lucky to spend winters in Thailand, but that hasn't stopped me and once I know the race date, my flights are booked.
One of my favourite moments took place about ten years ago when mum and I were on the start line and she was chatting to another lady and her husband. It turns out that he was an "Ever-Present" too at the time!
Will I be back? 2nd April 2023 you say? Do excuse me, I have some flights to book...