Beth Potter takes British title and place in World Championship

Zola Budd talks with fellow runners before the Stirling Marathon. Picture: PA.
Zola Budd talks with fellow runners before the Stirling Marathon. Picture: PA.
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Beth Potter had the leeway to lap up her charge towards a maiden British title on Saturday night at Highgate, securing her place in the 10,000 metres at this summer’s world championships in London. “I was grinning and looking at my coach and thinking, ‘This is good’,” admitted the 25-year-old Glaswegian, whose time of 32:04.63 placed her almost 12 seconds ahead of fellow Scot Steph Twell.

It was all the more remark­able for the fact that, since ­January, she has been based largely in Leeds as a full-time triathlete, committed to spending at least 18 months transitioning into a second sport in which some of the learning – particularly on the bike – has been from scratch.

Two low-key outings have been promising. The real test will come early next month at Blenheim, a first opportunity to make her case for selection for Scotland at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Athletics will not be a distraction, she confirmed, from conquering the three-pronged challenge already in motion. “You don’t turn down a GB vest, do you?” she said. “But I’m just going to carry on with what I’m doing – it’s working, I’m improving in the tri and in the running so there’s no point in changing anything at the moment. I’ve just got to keep working.”

Andy Vernon and Dewi ­Griffiths were 1-2 in the men’s race, with reigning world champion­ Mo Farah already guaranteed a spot.

Meanwhile, Alisha Rees underlined her immense potential with victory over Rio 2016 medallist Asha Philip at yesterday’s Loughborough International. The teen­ager from Aberdeenshire took fifth place in the 100m in a lifetime best of 11.62 seconds but stepped up to win the 200m over the experienced Philip in 23.61, both inside the qualifying marks for the European junior championships.

Mark Dry returned from injury to win the men’s hammer by a single centimetre from fellow Olympian Chris Bennett, the Highlander throwing 71.73m.

Kirsty Law was second in the discus, while Myra Perkins and Rachel Hunter came second and third behind Jade Lally in the women’s hammer.

Zoey Clark was triumphant in the women’s 400m despite a slow finish that cost her a shot at the Commonwealth qualifying time.

“I had hoped it would be more competitive than that,” the Scot said. “The positives are I’ve won the race and taken full points for Scotland and it gives me a bit of confidence to beat some of the athletes there.”

Sophie Hahn lowered the Para T38 100m record to 12.49.

Elsewhere, Andrew Lemon­cello took victory in the inaugural Stirling Marathon, shaking off aches and strains before grinding out victory in 2:25.01.

After illness during last month’s London Marathon wrecked his bid to make one last world championship, winning was the perfect ­tonic, the 34-year-old Olympian claimed. “To come back here and get another marathon win in the books is really good because I’ve not won many races recently.”

Lesley Pirie won the women’s race in 2:47:36, while Zola Budd rolled back the years to come ninth in 3:12:24, with ­fellow track legend Liz McColgan six minutes behind.