The infamous Heartbreak Hill failed to stop Matt Clowes from winning the Potters ‘Arf Marathon (Sunday 9 June) for the second consecutive year. It didn’t deter the women’s winner Polly Keen either.
Both winners were part of a 1300-strong field at this perennial favourite that is ranked as one of the toughest half marathons in the UK. The Hanley Economic Building Society Potters ‘Arf is known for its exceptional support from the people of Stoke who clapped and cheered runners and walkers every step of the way. This encouragement was appreciated especially up Milton Road a.k.a. ‘Heartbreak Hill’ at Sneyd Green.
There was a choice of four races: a Junior Run, Walkers, Relays and the Half Marathon. The walkers set off at 9am from Marks & Spencer as did the Junior Run at 10.50am with the Half Marathon and Relay at 10.30am from Hanley Town Centre. The weather conditions were perfect – not too warm as is often the case and welcomed by the runners especially those in fancy dress.
A strong run by Matt Clowes of Cardiff AAC saw him retain his Potters ‘Arf title in 1:07:17 – over four minutes ahead of Ben Fish of Blackburn Harriers who was runner-up again in 1:11:22. Carl Moulton of Boalloy RC went one better than his 2018 placing, coming third in 1:13:14.
There was a commanding display of running by Polly Keen of Nuneaton Harriers to win the women’s race in 1:23:06. A gap of six and half minutes separated Keen from Lauren Charlton of Newcastle (Staffs) AC who finished second in 1:29:36. Joanne Bentley of Stone MM was third in 1:30:32.
Matt will return next year to try and complete a hat trick of wins.