More than 1,000 runners and walkers have signed up for this year’s Potters ’Arf Marathon.

Entries have been pouring in, with the figure now about 200 up on the 2019 and 2020 figures at the same stage (5 may 2021).

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.

Rebecca-Dixon
Rebecca Dixon

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.”

(Main image start of the 2019 Hanley Economic Potters ‘Arf Marathon. Image by Mick Hall Photos.)

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 visit www.stoke.gov.uk/sports

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

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