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Glasgow 2014: Potter's luck

Beth Potter believes there is an added poignancy to next year's Commonwealth Games after the tragic events of last weekend.

Beth Potter has her eye on running the 5000m at the Commonwealth Games next year                                                          Photograph: Steve Walsh
Beth Potter has her eye on running the 5000m at the Commonwealth Games next year Photograph: Steve Walsh

A native of the city, she knows the unique character of her fellow Glas-wegians and how determined they will be to make the Games even more of a celebration to help the healing process.

Now based in Teddington, it was only a few short weeks ago that she scampered past the Clutha pub on her way to the Great Scottish Run 10k title.

"It was awful. I remember running past that pub at the Great Scottish Run and recognised it on the news and it's really sad," she said. "But Glasgow people are resilient and there is a spirit about them. It's definitely my favourite city in the UK and there is a unique feeling about it.

"When I get the train back from London, you immediately know when you are back in Glasgow as everyone is much more friendly. Everyone tries to help you out if you need it, whereas in London people tend to barge into you and don't apologise and aren't very helpful."

Potter wants to run the 5000m at Glasgow 2014 but is still chasing a qualifying time after a number of setbacks, the latest of which was tearing a stomach muscle working on her core in the week of the trials for this weekend's European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade.

She took part in the race in Liverpool, but was suffering after four kilometres and could not get back in contention to make the Under-23 team, which was a bit annoying, she said.

Steph Twell - one of five other athletes who share the same house as Potter - had a decent run that day and is targeting a top-10 place in the senior event in Belgrade today and also team gold for Great Britain.

Potter said: "It's been a bit of a steadier start this winter and it all seems to be clicking now. I always seem to get injured around March time and the first part of the summer so I'm hoping I can delay that. I'm hoping to get out and run a quick time in March or April on the track to try to get the Games qualifying time. I just have to keep in one piece until then, hopefully.

"Glasgow 2014 is in my mind, but I don't want to be constantly thinking about it because I have so many other things going on. As long as I stay in one piece and don't get injured, I have every chance possible. I have to get the 5000m qualifying time twice and I'm only four or five seconds off it. If I hadn't been injured at the start of the year, I would have thought I would have run the time by the end of last season. In the end, I didn't get to the right race at the right time."

There is no shortage of quality training partners such as Twell and Emelia Gorecka and Potter feels she will be in the best place possible at the start of the track season. "Every night at training is like a race, so that is good," she says. "You have to go there on your A game - you don't know how it's going to pan out as it's a race situation. They are always pushing me and the rivalry keeps me on my toes and I enjoy that pressure. It would have been nice to have been selected for the Games by this stage, but I just have to keep going."

She has no desire to follow in the footsteps of some of her peers and travel to a training camp in Kenya to escape the winter.

"I've been to Kenya a couple of times and had a bit of a bad experience. I went in January 2012 and came back with a parasite and was quite ill," she says. "I missed four months of proper training and, because of that, I then got post-viral fatigue and it completely wiped me out for the whole summer. I'm not going to be going back to Kenya any time soon.

"Having my group here is just so good. The people in my group are the top athletes in the country."

Having graduated in physics from Loughborough University, she is now in full-time teacher training at St Mary's University College in Twickenham.

Potter may be keeping the best of company, but all it takes is a trip back to Glasgow to keep her grounded.

On a recent visit to her parents, she discovered her degree certificate had been put in the recycling bin by mistake and only discovered it by chance, looking for a magazine. "I now have it safely stored," she said.

She will make sure any selection letter for 2014 is sent to her address down south.

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