Buddy Volunteers

Buddy Volunteer Roster

Buddy Outside The Barriers
Buddy in Reception
Buddy Trackside

Grab a high-vis from the cupboard (first door on the left as you turn from reception into the corridor) and look out for people who are new or seem like they might like a chat. Helping people find the changing rooms and bathroom, pointing the way to track and talking about what Wednesday nights are all about is great too!

  • Outside the barriers; people who are new don’t have a card to get through the turnstiles and a friendly face is useful
  • In reception; the front desk can point people to you to chat
  • Trackside; looking for people who are alone or looking lost

The only other things to add are to arrive at track early, from around 6pm if you can, and to try to avoid getting stuck into conversation with lots of people you know at track whilst volunteering as that can make you seem less easy to approach for nervous first timers! I imagine it’s not just first timers who will come to ask questions, or need a friendly face to talk to and that’s fine too.


Dinner Dance 2020

We are now taking bookings for the 2020 annual Dinner Dance at Sonning Golf Club on Sat 7th March at 6:30pm for 7pm start. Tickets cost £36 and can be obtained from our front desk on Wednesday’s from Anne or from Liz after track. Please let them know your menu choices and who you would like to sit with.

The Club and Marathon Championship awards will be presented during the evening.

Contact either Anne Goodall at track or Liz Johnson: socialsec@readingroadrunners.org if you have any queries

Visit our Social Page for up and coming events


#TeamJackMon Lanzarote & Malaga Double Marathon Report.

Double Trouble. Our Lanzarote & Malaga Marathon Double, Dec 2019
By Paul Monaghan

If you fancy a spot of running in December and maybe a marathon or two then you could do a lot worse than Lanzarote & Malaga, Spain.

Lanzarote is a Canary island of volcanic origin and tends to have a hot climate in December. If you like winter sun then it’s ideal. The marathon itself starts from Sands Beach hotel in Costa Tequise.

Malaga is located on the Southern tip of Spain and is primarily used as a gateway for travelling the Costas. However I’ve always found Malaga itself a vast improvement to Torremolinos, Marbella etc. as it has a more authentic Spanish feel. It has to be one of the most underrated Spanish cities.

Caroline Jackson & I ( #Teamjackmon ) were a bit worse for wear as only just completed the Cypriot Larnaca Marathon and the Spanish Basque country’s San Sabastian marathon. These two would make it four foreign marathons in five weeks. Fitness wise we’re both off form lately but the pull of a December in the sun with pals was just too much to resist. So we booked the flights & hotels months in advance cutting costs considerably.

Our usual RR crew Pete ‘The Train’ Morris & Martin ‘Bushy’ Bush would be joining us in Lanzarote but would be flying home after few days. Bushy would be flying to Malaga to join us also.

The plan for Caroline & I was to stay at Gatwick hotel Thur eve and fly out to Lanzarote on the Fri (6th Dec) We’d then stay in Lanzarote until the Wed were we’d fly to Seville spend a night there and then catch a bus to Lanzarote on the Thur afternoon.


After landing a Lanzarote the four of us made our way to the Nazaret apartments hotel in Costa Tequise. It’s an amazing complex were most of the 100 marathon club runners descend on every December, which gives the whole holiday a buzz. Brian Kirsopp had also arrived who was giving it a go for the third time.

The marathon is an out & back from Costa Teguise to Puerto del Carmen. A half marathon & 10K also start from Puerto del Carmen, in fact many Reading Roadrunners over the years have joined us there running various races. I can’t recommend it enough if you want to incorporate a winter holiday.

This was a hot one with temperatures reaching 26 during the race. During the back section there were many people walking. Saying that though it’s an enjoyable scenic run passing palm trees as some stunning scenery. Even a point running in front of the airport landing strip were planes appear to be coming in about 100 metres overhead. We did struggle a lot on this though support from the locals kept us going when all senses said to quit. Caroline had a podium age cat prize a few years ago but like myself was a bit too worn out to be in contention.

We all ran a 4 hour+ but Brian had managed to pull a sub 3:30 out of the bag despite the heat. Respect to him.

This was our third in four weeks so it was a relief to finish and tuck into all the post race snacks etc. Of all the marathons we’ve completed this has more than any other for the runners post race. Food, drinks & even ice creams are in abundance. We celebrated Bushy’s 1000th  ( Yes 1000th) marathon there last year as it was just the ideal place to have it.

After the race 100s of runners descend into the local square for some much needed celebrations. The four of us ended up in a Karaoke bar until about 3:30am.  We had to walk Pete Morris to his room as he didn’t know what day it was. Luckily for us he did not get up on stage.

Caroline & I stayed to the Wednesday to visit much of what the island had to offer, we even threw in a visit to the local Volcanos at Timanfaya Park.


If anyone has visited Seville or ran a race there you’ll be aware of just how stunning this place is. We ran the Marathon there in 2016 and will indeed be repeating it again in Feb 2020 just 10 weeks away.
Everywhere you look in the city there are orange trees lining the streets. Around the Cathedral area there’s a mixture of small friends tapas bars, some of which look like they’ve not been touched in 100s of years.

Pete and Bushy and most of the crew had now left to go home but we decided we’d get a flight straight over to Spain incorporating Seville before a 2.5 hour bus ride to Malaga.
Cutting a long story short, we found out the airport was closed mid-flight so we ended up at Malaga hence finding ourselves in the position of now needing a bus from Malaga to Seville, returning to Malaga again the next day.
We really enjoyed it here and even caught the excellent Xmas lights switch on as well as visiting one of the oldest Tapas bar in Spain. Our time was short so the next day it was off to Malaga.


After landing we caught the local bus from the airport to town. Our destination was the Las Vegas hotel which is right on the sea front. We had a few days before the marathon so it gave us time to indulge a little more rather than our usual arrival the day before.

I’ve always said Malaga is one of the most underrated cities in Europe. With a backdrop of a stunning cathedral and relatively quiet beaches it’s ideal for anyone wanting a authentic Spanish experience avoiding the tourist hotspots. There’s even a Picasso museum thrown in to boot.

On the Saturday we took part in the pre-marathon breakfast run. A tourist bus was laid on from the city that took us to the Estadio Ciudad de Málaga stadium were the run would kick off.

This was great fun especially as Caroline & I were decked out in Xmas gear. Really was a fun run but the nice weather and the stadium made this a great experience even if the route was a little dull.

Our partner in crime Martin Bush flew in not long after we finished ready for the Marathon the next day.

Marathon morning eventually arrived. In 2016 the rain was so bad that they called the Marathon off an hour before the start. Our fingers were firmly crossed in anticipation for this one. As it goes we kicked this off on a nice day. It’s dark when you arrive at baggage but by the time the marathon starts the sun is just rising making this ideal.

We popped into a café en route were these poor staff were trying to serve coffees to about 200 runners in 30 mins. Was chaos but a spectacle to watch.
Caroline with a combination of nerves and too much food the night before suddenly had a fit of the runs and quickly dived in front of the 50+ strong loo queue to save the day and her dignity. The only gripe I have about this marathon is the lack of toilets.

Start was so conjected but soon opened out as roads and coastal paths are so wide. By this time I was exhausted beyond belief and was doubting I could run half way yet a lone a marathon. Seven days out of the UK combined with eating out and late nights, not to mention three marathons in four weeks had taken their toll. Caroline was feeling pretty much the same though Bushy is a machine to business as usual for him. Another RR Paloma would also be running as well as some other pals. I decided my best tactic was to go for a fast first half and back off after 13 miles. The trick seemed to work and get me round, though my time was nothing to write home about.

It’s not a bad course but they had re-routed from previous years which meant not taking in as much coastal roads. It also seemed to add a few hills. Some people may prefer this but in the heat it can get too much. Needless to say I’d still highly recommend this Marathon in December for the city and beaches alone.

Caroline’s was about 20 mins ahead of me but Paloma had managed to pull off a PB beating us both and was ecstatic. Another friend of ours Julia whom we first met in Tallinn also managed a PB.

One of the best things about Malaga is the beach bars to follow. Tons of us met up for a well-deserved beer in the sun after the race. Bushy even managed some post-race magnet shopping.

As expected many of us got together and visited the tapas bars etc in e evening. One thing that is worth mentioning is the excellent roof top bar at the Marriot hotel. It gives a spectacular view of the city and for that it’s worth it alone.

Paloma’s parents live in Spain meaning she knows Malaga like the back of her hand. She treated all of us to drinks in the spectacular Bodega El Pimpi Spanish tapas bar which is just mind blowing. Bushy proclaimed it as the best bar he’s ever visited which coming from him just says it all.

Monday it was back to the UK. And dare I say it I think we were both glad to get back to the UK for a rest even if it was raining on our arrival. Now time for Xmas shopping, though a marathon in baking heat is easy by comparison.

Helsinki & Tallinn Marathon Weekend 2019

Report by Paul Monaghan

The idea of running in two countries during one long weekend was just too good to miss. A flight to Helsinki, Finland, then do a parkrun followed by a boat trip to Tallinn, Estonia to run the Marathon. Caroline Jackson & myself Paul Monaghan did our research and this seemed easily possible. We put the feelers out on Facebook and on website about 6 months before Marathon to see who’d be interested
As per usual we were joined by Pete ‘The Train’ Morris & Martin ‘Bushy’ Bush. Ian ‘IPL’ Giggs, Linda Wright & Kingsley R Stirling who also joined us for this trip.Flight to Helsinki was uneventful and we all checked into our hotels as per usual. A few tourists in Helsinki but not too over the top.

Prices were expensive as we’d predicted but transport was relatively cheap. So after some sightseeing (Helsinki Cathedral was stunning) we took a short boat trip on spec to a small island called Suomenlinna without a clue in the world what was there.

The island is basically an 18th century sea fortress. Many soldiers were walking around the island on parade which was quite amusing. Anyway we spotted an old brewery which seemed vaguely interesting so we decided to visit and sample the goods. It was here we read on our phones the devastating news ‘Tokoinranta, Helsinki parkrun cancelled’ to say we were devastated was an understatement. The other closest parkrun was over 100 miles away but we had to catch a boat at 1:30 to follow. We decided it wasn’t worth the risk so we’d just do the marathon, Well all besides IPL Ian Giggs that is (See my other article IPL Giggsy).

Helsinki was not bad for restaurants even if slightly on the extensive side so we eventually found a great place overlooking the central square. Two of our crowd I won’t mention decided they’d go culturally overboard and dig out a McDonalds to eat. I mean why eat at a nice restaurant in Helsinki when there’s a Big Mac & fries on offer that’s not going to eat itself? Luckily they redeemed themselves by suggesting Hard Rock for drinks later on 😊

Boat trip was great the next day. We thought it would be a small boat but we actually had a 10 deck cruise ship. A love boat trips so this was a great adventure. Bushy was in his element as there was a full-size souvenir shop on board. Never really been one for long cruises but this was great fun. Giggsy was weighing how many laps around the boat would be a parkrun.

After leaving the boat at Tallinn Pete Morris was on a mission to do the 10K also so he dragged Bushy along ahead to the hotel well ahead of us. There were entries on the day so both managed to enter along with Kingsley who’d booked it in advance. We had to wade through the 10K runners to get to the expo but the atmosphere was electric and it was a sunny day and besides it was only a short walk from the hotel.. What a stunning old town this was, even the authentic costumed cheer leaders were giving it loads at the start. We were hoping the weather would be this good for the marathon the following day. We sat at an outside bar near the 10K finish and soaked up the atmosphere. We finally had time to appreciate hotel later. It looked like it had come straight from an Agatha Christie novel; complete with 30s Art Deco décor and an ancient metal cage lift which I just loved.

During the evening finding somewhere to eat proved slightly problematic. It was Caroline’s pre birthday meal so we decided to try and find somewhere nice. Bushy & Pete are quite happy with British style burger bar so we left them to it. The other’s also managed to find a great place.

We eventually settled for a cracking Italian restaurant which was bathed in dim lights on the outside terrace. Was similar to the kind of places where we ate in Verona. This was a top notch place without having to trade in your jewellery for a decent bottle of vino and a nice meal.

We met the others later on in the local Depeche Mode bar. I’m a big fan so loved this place. All drinks & cocktails named after Depeche mode songs as well as their music constantly playing. I’m surprised this idea has not spread to other cities. A ‘Steps’ Bar anyone? J

It was race morning and also Caroline’s birthday. Last year she had her birthday in Bordeux, France as we had the Medoc marathon and this year she’d be running one also. Hey who wants an easy day anyway? How many birthdays do we forget? Or should I say would rather forget. The hotel had laid on breakfast at 7 and we were next to the start so we could relax and not have to rush and find toilets etc for a change.

Kingsley & Linda were doing the ½ so they started later but for the rest of us it was the obligatory pics at the start.

The Marathon starts at Viru Gate which was part of the defence system of Tallinn City that was built in the 14th century. I doubt if they had marathons in the 14th century but if they did they may not have appreciated as much as we did, Was an amazing view looking at the gate towers though the electrifying atmosphere as the race got under way.

Did I spot TV cameras? Oh no they’d worked out #TeamJackMon were in town or rather they’d latched on that Bushy had ran over a 1000 marathons and wanted to catch him before he wandered into a souvenir shop en-route.


It was a great start as we circled around the old town before heading off into the country. There were a few bands on route which added to the atmosphere. Some of these smaller marathons have more entertainment along the course than the so-called Rock ‘n’ Roll marathons but don’t really advertise it. One thing about this course that sticks in my mind is we ran about 2k through a zoo. All was fine until we ran past a cage were an angry looking bear was rattling on the bars of the cage. Felt sorry for the poor animal locked up. Friendly marshals & aid stations were plentiful on this virtually flat scenic course so it’s definitely one I’d recommend.

These marathons don’t get an easier whether it’s home or abroad. All are 26.2 miles so sometimes it’s just the thought of a beer at the end and a decent after party that keeps you going. I’m baffled why we keep running them but at a push I’d say it’s the traveling & the people that keep us focused. Believe me it’s sometimes difficult to stay motivated so always a good idea to vary the location. Anyway we finally crossed the finish line and the birthday girl had managed to beat me and everyone else in our crew for that matter ‘I’ve had enough of marathons’ were her famous words uttered for the umpteenth time as a bottle of water and flyer for next year was trust in her hand. Crowd support at the end was great.

Talking of after parties we resigned ourselves to all meeting for a beer at local bar near hotel after the race. As I get slightly bored in one place we decided to take a trip to baggage to find other runners whilst Caroline & I waited for the rest. We stumbled upon free food & (alcoholic) drink which we were not aware of. Runners from all over Europe were there including one German guy who’d ran over 1,500 marathons. We just had to get a pic of him & Bushy. I’ll just say that this could well be the best after race party we’ve attended though there’s some stiff competition from Rome, Paphos, Liverpool & Lanzarote to name but a few. Caroline even ended up pouring beers for other runners. Well it was her birthday.

As always, time is never on our side but after a quick break we were out again in the evening. You may have gathered Caroline & I enjoy authentic places and try to avoid British & Irish bars like the plague. To be fair the others were up to this also.  The bunch of us along with Linda’s new friend Julia found what was called ‘The Oldest Bar in Tallinn’ which was a down stairs basement. Hang on, had I just stepped out of the Tardis? We seemed to have been transported 400 years back in time. The Karja Kelder had vaulted ceilings & dim lights and stressed out staff trying to cope with demanding 21st century customers. They even sold pigs ears here. Anyway this was great fun especially as we had 2 people amongst us who couldn’t cope with anything besides basic food. After about 10 menu changes we eventually settled down to some great beer & food. Linda’s new friend Julia seemed to find us all entertaining and immediately signed up to do another marathon abroad. Malaga anyone? I never realised we were all a travelling cabaret act but if it gets people running & healthy then it’s fine by me. Guess we could start charging for live Bushy & Pete Morris arguments. Surely there’s a market for that? On this occasion they did it for free and it turned out a great evening. Guess there was only the birthday cake missing. As you may have guessed we were the last people out in Tallinn.

All good thigs must come to an end so the next day it was a case of Caroline & I cramming in as many sights as possible. We fought our way through hordes of stick carrying tourists to visit Freedom Square, Maidens Tower, Toompea Castle and the excellent St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral before finally heading to the boat port to catch to floating hotel back to Helsinki and then our flight home.

All in all, a great trip with great pals. Marathons abroad can be difficult especially in scorching hot weather (though I must admit to secretly enjoying the pain). But as always the excuse to meet more like minded people and experience a different country & culture is an absolute bonus. Next port of call Palma, Majorca Marathon in a couple of weeks. As always, anyone who wants to join us or other roadrunners on a running jaunt abroad then give us a shout on Facebook or visit Runners on the Road on our website.



IPL Ian Giggs Beats the International Odds

By Paul Monaghan

Ian Giggs proved being the club’s IPL (International Parkrun Legend) is all in a day’s work.

Picture the scene. A bunch of us from the club have all planned to run the Tokoinranta parkrun in Helsinki followed by a boat at 1:30 to Estonia to run the Estonian Marathon the next day. Would it go to plan? Does it ever?

Giggsy’s a true parkrun ambassador for our club and his stats are nothing short of astounding. Over 500 parkruns in total which includes nearly 300 different locations spread over 13 different countries outside the UK including Australia, Singapore, New Zealand and North America to name a few. He also puts a lot back into the community by regularly volunteering at parkrun and other events. What he doesn’t know about parkruns is not worth knowing as he’s a born statistician. He also counts parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE (and his wife) as his friends. I’m almost forgetting that he also runs many other distances including marathons and has been a member of the club since a wee nipper.

Anyway getting back to the story at hand. The day before parkrun we decided to take a short boat trip from Helsinki to a small island called Suomenlinna. We were browsing Facebook during a quick trip to a brewery when we were confronted with the devastating news ‘ Tokoinranta parkrun cancelled’ Giggsy who’s face had been beaming throughout the trip now looked as if someone had just confiscated all his bar codes. Between us we tried to find a way to reach another parkrun in Finland, but the most easily accessible was over 100 miles away. We talked about catching an Uber cab, hiring a minibus and grabbing train at 6am. There was 6 of us and time was just not on our side. As our boat was at 13:30pm to Tallinn we’d calculated getting the train back would be a push to make it. The following boat was at 4:30 so there was a chance we’d miss the expo hence picking up our marathon numbers. All of us decided the gamble was not worth it.

Being an IPL means you’re made of sterner stuff. I can honestly say I’ve never seen Ian Giggs looking so sad, or was I getting sadness confused with a mass of calculations going on inside his head? The rest of us turned in that evening resigning ourselves to having to write it off and just enjoying Estonia. Or so we thought, as one of us had different ideas.

At breakfast we texted him to find out when he’s be joining us. No answer. We tried again. Could he have? No, never we thought, even Giggsy is not that crazy. We couldn’t contact him and he did not turn up for breakfast. Then have a guess what pops up on Facebook? Only Giggsy posing behind the Tampere parkrun sign.

He’s actually done it. We still couldn’t get in contact and it would soon be time to catch our boat. We eventually caught it at 13:30 and there was still no sign of him. Just before departure Caroline had took a picture of me from the stern  looking towards the port with the caption ‘Waiting for the IPL Mr Ian Giggs. Will he make it?’ She’s barely put her phone down (actually she never does, but that’s another story 😊) when who was standing behind us? It was none other then Giggsy. Against all odds he’s not only ran a parkrun over 100 miles away but also manged to catch our boat. He was now on schedule  to be able to also run the marathon on Sunday also. To say we were pleased for him was an understatement. A rapturous applause followed. Unbelievable!

And this is what he did:

  • Woke up at 5am.
  • Ran to train station a mile away with luggage.
  • Caught the train 6am to Tampere.
  • Arrived 8:30 after a 2 ½ hour journey.
  • Ran with luggage to Tampere parkrun start.
  • Ran the parkrun in 22 mins.
  • Found a fast fast coach back to Tallinn after chatting to locals.
  • Ran to coach station with luggage and caught coach with 2 mins to spare.
  • Arrived back at Helsinki around 12:40.
  • Ran 2 miles to Ferry port with luggage.
  • Caught the boat with mins to spare as final boarding was at 1pm.

What separates the greats from us mere mortals is that they will sometimes go with their gut instincts rather than following or trying to please the masses, no matter what hand they are dealt. He’d made a risky decision but pulled off a Royal Flush. And to that I take off my hat. Well done Giggsy!  A parkrun legend if there ever was one.