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China plate inspires 1,000th Potters ’Arf Marathon entrant to claim prize as hundreds sign up for iconic event

Potters Arf Published: Wednesday, 5th May 2021

More than 1,000 runners and walkers have signed up for this year’s Potters ’Arf Marathon. As part of a competition, the 1,000th adult to sign up for this year’s event won free entry to the race.

More than 1,000 runners and walkers have signed up for this year’s Potters ’Arf Marathon by visiting www.stoke.gov.uk/pottersarf.

Entries opened less than 10 weeks ago and they have been pouring in, with the figure now about 200 up on the 2019 and 2020 fgures at the same stage.

In total, 1,052 people have already signed up for the run, walk, relay or junior race – and places remain open at www.stoke.gov.uk/pottersarf

Organisers are hopeful that around 2,000 people will take part in the Hanley Economic Potters ’Arf Marathon 2021 on Sunday, September 26.

As part of a competition, the 1,000th adult to sign up for this year’s event won free entry to the race.

Child minder Rebecca Dixon, aged 31, claimed the prize after entering the 13.1-mile run.

She was inspired to sign up for the Potters ’Arf because of memories of a commemorative china plate owned by her dad, Richard Snowden.

Rebecca, who grew up in Alsager, said: “My dad did the Potteries full marathon in the 80s before I was born and he’s got a commemorative china plate from it. I always remember seeing it on the wall growing up, so I was inspired by my dad really.”

Rebecca says she has been getting back into running after the birth of her two children, Tilly, aged two and Eleanor, aged four. She has completed a 10k race before, but never taken on a half marathon.

The former Alsager School student, who now lives in Bristol, said: “My running has been going really well and I thought about entering something where I live. Then I thought that, especially after the past year of not being able to visit family, it would be really nice to enter the Potters ’Arf. So I signed up and it will be great to be there. It’s amazing to be the 1,000th adult to enter.”

The Potters ’Arf has a hugely popular 13.1-mile run, as well as a half marathon walk, a relay section for teams of two to four, and a 1,000 metre junior race.

It is one of the most unique, community-spirited races in the UK, with amazing support across Stoke-on-Trent, a wonderful atmosphere at the city centre finish, special Potteries medals created by Wade Ceramics and fantastic challenges.

The Potters’ Arf also raises thousands of pounds for local charities – including the main causes the Douglas Macmillan Hospice and The Alice Charity.

The city council, its race partners and sponsors want this year’s event to be a shining ray of hope in 2021, with as many people as possible taking part.

Councillor Lorraine Beardmore, cabinet member for public health, culture and leisure, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that so many people have already entered the Potters ‘Arf. After the past year, it’s going to be wonderful to see all of those people taking part in something that’s so inspiring and community-spirited.

“We’d really love this year’s event to be the biggest ever. The atmosphere at the Potters ’Arf is always something special – there’s really nothing like it anywhere else. If we can get around 2,000 participants by September, it will be an even more incredible spectacle for everyone in the city. I can’t wait to be there, cheering all of those amazing people on.

“There are plenty of ways to get involved in the race – so don’t worry even if you’re not an avid runner. There’s the fantastic main race, but we also have the popular relay or walking sections for others to enjoy. So why not sign up, try something new and be part of one of the most incredible events that will take place in the city this year?”

Rebecca also won six months’ membership to Shapes Health and Leisure Club at Fenton Manor Sports Complex, Dimensions Leisure Centre in Burslem, and Wallace Sport and Education Centre in Abbey Hulton. She is donating the prize to a family member who lives locally.

The gyms reopened from April 12 after the latest easing of lockdown restrictions. To find out more about gym membership, which is just £10 in May, reopened lane and leisure swimming, and more leisure services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk/sports

More information about the Potters ’Arf - including entry details, the latest news, race day information, and results - is available at https://www.stoke.gov.uk/pottersarf

People can also sign up to a new Potters 'Arf e-bulletin by visiting www.stoke.gov.uk/stayconnected

Potters ‘Arf stats:

  • The event began as the Potteries Marathon in 1982, which went on to become the Potters 'Arf in 2005.
  • Since it began, more than 30,000 people have taken part in the Potters ’Arf.
  • It’s estimated that, since it began, the Potters ’Arf has raised more than £1 million for charities.
  • There are more than 80 volunteers who help on the day.
  • The men’s course record was set in 2018 - Matt Clowes, Cardiff AAC, 1:06:53.
  • The women’s course record was set in 2015 - Michelle Ross-Cope, City Of Stoke AC, 1:14:31.
  • Around 1,700 people took part in the 2019 event.
  • The 2021 event is the 16th Potters ’Arf in its current form.

How to sign up: Runners, walkers, relay teams and junior race participants can sign up now at www.stoke.gov.uk/pottersarf

Unaffiliated runner: (minimum age 17 years) £27
UKA affiliated runner: (minimum age 17 years) £25
Walker (minimum age 17 years) £22
Relay team of 2 to 4 people (minimum age 16 years) - £37.80
Junior (minimum age 6 years old, maximum age 15 years old – under 9s must be accompanied by a responsible adult 16+) £6.30
*All costs are subject to a website processing fee

Four events:

Main race: 13.1-mile run. Participants gather at Huntbach Street in Hanley, where the buzz is amazing. After a short walk, they then start on Potteries Way at 10.30am to cheers from the supporters. There’s a great atmosphere, with encouragement from residents and our amazing team around the route. The event follows a well-marshalled route, finishing back in the city centre to more cheering crowds near the Sir Stanley Matthews statue.

Relay: There’s a brilliant relay team section for those who do not want to run the full 13.1 miles. This can be done in groups of between 2 and 4 so you can split the route up between you. It's a great way of taking part, without having to run the full course. The stages for four runners range from 1.7miles to 4.7miles and are detailed on the race day information page.

Walk: 13.1-mile walk. Participants start at 9am, outside Marks and Spencers in Upper Market Square, Hanley. The walk has a fantastic atmosphere and, because you've set off earlier in the morning, you finish around the same time as the runners – to cheers from the crowds! 

Junior race: The 1,000-metre junior race - starting at 10.50am - is for young people aged between six and 15 (under-9s must be accompanied by an adult). This provides a fantastic opportunity for children to take part and many previous entrants have gone on to take on the main event. 

Prizes: Everyone who finishes receives a goody bag, as well as the special Potters 'Arf medal created by Wade Ceramics, including time bonus ribbons. Winners' trophy presentations take place after the event.

Hanley Economic Building Society: Hanley Economic Building Society remains as headline sponsor. As a local organistaion, the company wants to support local poeple, local businesses and local events. The iconic Potters ‘Arf highlights Stoke-on-Trent like no other event. Hanley Economic supports the event with volunteers, hosting planning meetings, organisation, promotion and running costs. For more information, click here

Covid: The safety of residents and participants is of the upmost importance and race organisers will be regularly reviewing the guidance provided by the Government and England Athletics in the run-up to the event.

2020 entrants: Deferred entrants from the cancelled 2020 event have been contacted separately with information on how to enter with a unique deferral code. Deferred entrants have until May 30 2021 to register. For information on deferred entries, email potters.arf@stoke.gov.uk