Having represented Team GB in athletics at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Beth Potter brings some impressive running ability to the world of triathlon. But her strong performances since switching to focus on swim/bike/run indicate she has made the right decision to diversify.
Potter’s best championship performance to date saw her take the European title in 2019, and she has amassed seven wins and 12 podiums in 56 races.
Glasgow-born Beth has already made a successful start to 2022, having collected two victories and two second places before the end of May. Most notably, she was crowned triathlon’s first eSports world champion after winning the Arena Games series.
And she followed that up with a fine individual bronze medal for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, ticking off what she called “a big aim for the season”.
Potter was initially a physics teacher after leaving university, but combined this with training as an elite runner. Aged 22, she competed on home soil for Scotland in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, finishing fifth in the 10,000m and ninth in the 5,000m.
She said: “I think that was a really breakthrough moment for me. It was a bit of a turning point in my career.”
This performance prompted a shift into full-time athletics and competing in the 10,000m at Rio 2016, but it was a year later that she took the plunge and moved to Leeds to focus on triathlon. This proved a decision which is still paying dividends.
Potter said: “I had all these people, like Olympians and Olympic level coaches, who encouraged me to come to Leeds, lift my whole life up and move here.
“I thought, well they’re not going to support me and they’re not going to help me if they don’t think I’m going to be half-decent doing triathlon.”
Beth Potter record and results
Beth Potter’s elite triathlon debut in August 2017 saw her finish 11th in an ETU sprint European Cup race at Wuustwezel. A month later, and in only her second outing, she recorded her first victory – in another European Cup race at Funchal in Portugal. She clocked a solid 1:01:36 time overall, but it was her 16:44 5km run which did the damage.
Potter was soon competing at the Commonwealth Games, where she broke the hour-barrier for the first time, clocking 59:50 for her 12th place. She followed this up with seventh place in the mixed relay.
Beth only achieved one podium placing in 2018, a runner-up spot at the Antwerp ITU Triathlon World Cup race in 1:03:11, but she thrust herself into the spotlight in May 2019 when she used her 10km run speed (33:23) to full advantage to win the ETU Triathlon European Championships at Weert in the Netherlands.
The Scottish athlete began 2020 with second place in the ETU Duathlon European Championships and soon became a genuine contender at ITU level. This was underlined when she won the ITU at Valencia (56:35) in November, having finished second at the same level the previous month at Arzachena.
Potter’s rapid progress continued in 2021, culminating in World Triathlon Cup victories at Haeundae (56:25) and Tongyeong (58:08).
Having raised the bar further in 2022, Beth is now ranked in the world’s top 10. She won the Europe Triathlon Cup in Quarteira in March, following that up with a win and two second places to secure Arena Games series title and then that Commonwealth Games bronze in Birmingham.
Beth Potter running
Beth Potter was a successful runner long before she caught the eye as a triathlete, but she is best known in recent years for a remarkable performance at the Podium 5K race in Barrowford in April 2021.
With World Athletics only having recently begun recording 5km records on the road, Potter’s clocking of 14:41 gave her an unofficial world best time. The low-level meeting did not have the necessary equipment or infrastructure to be eligible for world records and Potter’s mark has since been surpassed. But it still counts as a British best, faster than Eilish McColgan and Paula Radcliffe have run.
Potter impressed as a junior track and cross country runner and was twice Scottish Schools 1,500m champion. She continued to progress through the ranks, ultimately representing GB in the European and World Cross Country Championships and winning Scottish titles.
Commonwealth and Olympic Games appearances followed on the track in 2014 and 2016 plus the World Athletics Championships in London in 2017. Potter doubled up with 10,000m on the track and triathlon at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, but this was her last international running appearance to date.
Beth Potter gear
Potter uses HUUB wetsuits. She rides Factor Bikes’ ONE and OSTRO VAM models and uses Cadex wheels and tyres. Beth runs in Asics Meta shoes and uses Garmin GPS equipment to monitor her performance.