Two Potters ’Arf Marathon trophies will include tributes to event founder Don Shelley, who sadly passed away earlier this year.
Mr Shelley’s granddaughters, Beth and Eve Darlow, are also planning to take part in the event’s walking section in his memory. Special race t-shirts will also carry a tribute to the inspirational organiser.
Mr Shelley founded the Potteries Marathon in 1982 and the race went on to become the Potters ‘Arf in 2005. He also set up the North Staffs Road Runners Association in 1974, which now has hundreds of members, and he is credited with helping to bring road running to the masses locally.
Mr Shelley, from Stone, sadly died aged 84 on February 7.
His wife, Gill, said: “What the city council have suggested as a tribute is really nice. I can’t put it in to words what it means to us. We really do appreciate everything that the organisers are doing.”
Mr Shelley’s granddaughters Eve, aged 20, and Beth, 26, will take part in the 13.1-mile walking section of this year’s Potters ’Arf.
Gill said: “I would like to thank each and every person who has paid tribute to Don for your kind words and messages. My family and I found them of great comfort at this sad time, so thank you to everyone. I know Don would be most appreciative. Can I say a special thank you to Ken Rushton, Peter Bailey, Norman Deakin and Mick Thacker, who remained true friends right to the end.”
More than 1,100 people have signed up for the Hanley Economic Potters ’Arf Marathon on September 26.
Lead event organiser Stoke-on-Trent City Council, race partners and sponsors want to remember Mr Shelley at this year’s event and have worked with the family on the tributes.
This year’s individual women’s and men’s winners’ trophies, created by Stoke-on-Trent pottery firm Emma Bridgewater, will now include the wording ‘In memory of Potters ’Arf Founder, Don Shelley’ and the running t-shirts will also have a printed tribute.
Councillor Lorraine Beardmore, cabinet member for public health, culture and leisure, said: “What Mr Shelley did and the legacy he has left across the Staffordshire running community and beyond is truly inspirational. It’s absolutely right that we pay tribute to him at this year’s race and we want to do everything we can to mark what Mr Shelley achieved in an incredible life. The Potters ’Arf is one of the city’s most iconic events and, because of Mr Shelley’s amazing work, it has brought so many benefits for the area. The ’Arf has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for local charities, it’s had a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of so many residents, and it supports our businesses who benefit from the influx of runners and spectators. Equally as important, it’s fantastic for community spirit in Stoke-on-Trent, bringing people together across the route and celebrating this wonderful city and its people. It’s one of those events that brings out the best in our city. Those benefits will be felt for many years to come and we will always be indebted to Mr Shelley for the huge impact he made and the inspirational man he was – it’s a pair of shoes no one will ever be able to fill.”
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.
For more information about the Potters ’Arf – including entry details, the latest news, race day information, and results visit https://www.stoke.gov.uk/pottersarf
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