The inaugural Stoke on Trent Festival of Running (SoTFoR) was a sure-fire winner on a blisteringly hot Sunday (15 July) in the Potteries. Runners from across the city got the party started...
It was an outstanding team effort by everyone involved with the biggest round of applause saved for the organiser Bill Mac of Stone Master Marathoners (Stone MM). His tireless efforts and determination to stage a running festival in Stoke on Trent paid dividends as local running clubs turned out in force to show their support.
The 5K and Half Marathon started from the Bet365 Stadium, the home of Stoke City FC, the Marathon and Relay from Port Vale. All four races were held on routes consisting of canal towpaths, cycle paths, road and woods that found favour with those taking part. Temperatures climbed steadily upwards as runners battled their way through the heat.
In the 5K, Lee Turner of Stoke FIT was first across the line in 19:25: Emma Wessn was the fastest female in 21:31.
Thomas Halloway of Steel City Striders won the Half Marathon in 1:22:57: Lindsay Dixon of Newcastle AC won the women’s race in 1:37:07.
Over in the Marathon, Sam Matthews was first home in 2:57:50: Charlotte Beddow was first lady in 3:51:47.
Local club hostilities were temporarily suspended as four chairmen from Stoke FIT, Trentham RC, Stone MM and Stafford Harriers teamed up for the Marathon Relay. They were beaten into second place by Team Newcastle AC Bang Tidy who won in 2:39:37. Team Chairmen were runners up in 3:04:46.
Every finisher was presented with a technical T-shirt and medal by volunteers from Young Epilepsy whose help was appreciated by Bill and his team.
SoTFoR 2019 promises to be even bigger and better.
Image courtesy of Ben Bewley.