Ben Fish marked the return of the Potteries Marathon with an impressive win at Sunday’s race, completing the course in a time of 2:26:16. The marathon returned after an 11-year absence, and, with a strong turnout on Sunday, oragnisers are confident it will remain on the calendar.
Competitors were met with warm conditions and a challenging, hilly course that started and finished at the Britannia Stadium. From there, runners headed towards Longton, through to Bentilee before reaching the most northern point around Milton. Moving along Leek New Road, the route headed back into the city, out through Middleport and on to Newcastle before snaking back towards the Brit.
Established in 1982, the marathon ran until 2004, but with entries dipping beneath 1,000, the race was cancelled. After such a strong turnout on Sunday though, organiser Chris Yorke is confident it will make a permanent return: "There was a real hunger from local runners to get this event back on the calendar and that's when I came in to help logistically.”
Chris added: "It was very well received and it was great to see so many people out cheering the runners on. Now we will hold a debrief and collect feedback but from what we know at the moment I am confident the marathon will be back as an annual event.”
Fish, who had taken first place at last month’s Freckleton Half Marathon, continued his impressive form with victory in 2:26:14. Ben Gamble finished just over a minute behind in 2:17:12, with Mark Dalkins setting a PB and securing third position with a time of 2:32:55.
In the women’s field, Hannah Oldroyd crossed the line first in 2:57:28 (taking 13th place overall, too), with Rebecca Harrison the closest competitor in 3:09:21 and Deborah Thomas third in 3:09:23. The final runner came home in 7:20:47, with the mid-point runner, Gary Jones, finishing the marathon in 4:17:55.
After the race, Oldroyd commented on the challenging conditions: "This marathon isn't known for fast times and after running it, I can understand why. It's a tough course and probably the hilliest marathon I have ever run but I enjoyed it."
runABC Midlands would like to thank Bryan Dale for supplying the images.