The Potters Arf - a race photographer's perspective - Bryan Dale

“Make sure you get my good side!”

“Can you photoshop a few pounds off?”

“Where will you be today, Bryan? Not on top of a killer hill, I hope?!”

This local race for me means a lot –

o    It’s great to be able to wander round Hanley city centre before the start, chatting to so many running pals, organisers and Radio Stoke, soaking in the atmosphere

o    I know the area and the race route so well, I know exactly what the runners will experience at every step

o    My assistant photographers don’t have to travel

The roadside support at Potters Arf is probably the very best I’ve seen – all the way around the entire course, wherever I plonk myself and my camera, there’s sure to be lots of vocal and enthusiastic cheering for every single one of the runners coming past. Fantastic support from Potteries folk. It’s OUR race and we all feel that – whether we’re runners, photographers, marshals or just locals who come out of our houses to clap and shout.

Even though it’s not a traditionally “scenic” route through pretty countryside, I still think it’s an interesting, varied route. Twists & turns, ups & downs, more ups & downs, historic, modern & interesting architecture. And there are plenty of interesting locations for my photos:

o     Start shots amid the hubbub of the city centre

o    My 2 mile mark photo location is on Vicky Road – so I get some great shots of a long string of runners stretching out to the distance

o    About half way round the course, runners are heading into Bentilee – always a super-friendly part of the city, going back to the old Potteries Marathon days

o    Next point is at 11 miles just before the dreaded Milton Road – no I wouldn’t be SO cruel as to take photos actually on the hill – and besides, I’d get my precious camera drenched by the hosepipes at the top!

o    Nearly there – last photo on Town Bridge, with the silver tree sculpture in the background. This is a great spot – even the most exhausted runners manage a smile because they can hear and smell the finish-line


After being involved in the local running scene for the past 25-30 years and taking photos at about 40 races a year for the past 10 years or so, I have got to know a fair few local runners!

But there are very few races where I know such a high percentage of the participants. So it’s very enjoyable and quite emotional to be able to shout encouragement from behind the lens to so many of my friends.