This year’s Potters ‘Arf has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Stoke-on-Trent’s annual half-marathon, which was due to take place on Sunday, June 14, is the latest sporting event to fall victim to the pandemic.
Leaders at Stoke-on-Trent City Council made the decision to cancel the race in consultation with main sponsor Hanley Economic Building Society and charities, due to concerns over social distancing.
More than 850 people had already signed up for the 13.1 mile event. They will now be contacted and reimbursed their registration fee.
The Potters’ Arf, which features a challenging, hilly course around the Six Towns, has been run every year since 2005, with 2019’s event attracting around 1,300 participants.
Over the years the event has raised more than £1 million for charities, including the Douglas Macmillan Hospice and the Donna Louise Trust.
City council leader Abi Brown said the decision to cancel had not been taken lightly, and was part of a ‘managed and proportionate’ response to the outbreak.
She said: “The decision to cancel the Potters ’Arf has been taken to protect the health and wellbeing of walkers and runners, officials, volunteers and spectators, and to alleviate the risk of an additional burden on the emergency services at what is a hugely testing time.
“We don’t take this decision lightly; we are working through what is the biggest health challenge of a generation. It is vitally important that people follow latest public health advice.
“The weather may be nice, people may be at home and schools may not be open, but this is not a bank holiday. Do not treat it as such. Everyone needs to practice physical distancing. People should ensure they keep a distance of two metres between themselves and other people at all times. We should all be doing all we can to reduce our social interactions to limit the transmission of the coronavirus.”
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in sporting events being cancelled around the world. Professional football in England is on hold until at least the end of April, while this summer’s Euro 2020 tournament has been postponted until next year.
The organisers of the Tokyo Olympics are coming under increasing pressure to cancel or postpone the event.
In Stoke-on-Trent the council has closed its leisure centres, with gym memberships being frozen.