BETH POTTER is in full agreement that dog is man’s, and woman’s, best friend.

The 28-year-old admits she found much of lockdown challenging, but there was one stand-out highlight for the triathlete; after longing for a dog for some time, Potter finally took the plunge and got a puppy.

“He’s a working cocker called Charlie,” she said.

“He’s been a life-saver during lockdown. I’ve always wanted a dog but it’s never been the right time and then when we first heard about lockdown, I moved in with a friend for a few weeks who’s got a dog and she convinced me to go for it.

“He’s brilliant– he’s very docile and he’s lovely. It’s been so great having him at home – and he runs with me at the weekend.

“He’s been the best thing about lockdown, for sure.”

The pandemic could not have hit at a worse time for Potter. The triathlon season was literally days from beginning and so having slogged her way through a full winter’s training, it was demoralising to say the least for everything to be thrown up into the air almost overnight.

“I love training so that part was okay but I did find it very tough not having anything on the horizon, so it was a real mix of emotions every day,” she said.

“I’ve found it really hard – one minute I’ll be fine and then the next minute I’ll find myself crying for no reason. It’s definitely been one of the hardest things I’ve faced in my career – it’s up there with a really crap injury. The uncertainty is so difficult.”

The lack of access to swimming pools has been the most challenging aspect of lockdown for Potter. The Glasgow-born athlete has spent the majority of her sporting life as a long-distance runner, representing GB at the 2016 Olympics, before switching to triathlon in 2017 and going on to represent Scotland as both a track and field athlete and a triathlete at Gold Coast 2018, becoming the first Scot ever to be selected for two sports at the same Commonwealth Games.

Of the three disciplines in triathlon, Potter freely admits swimming is her weakest and so a whole summer out of the water was far from ideal, to put it mildly.

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Potter’s first post-coronavirus outing was in early September in Hamburg where she finished twenty-first, a performance she was dissatisfied with. Her next event is due to be the World Cup event in Italy in mid-October which, Potter admits, she will only race if she feels she is in shape to really compete.

These high standards Potter sets for herself may make her life more difficult, but it is the same attitude that has helped her defy the odds time and time again throughout her career.

Her switch from track and field to triathlon may be somewhat unusual but last year, Potter proved in emphatic style her gamble had paid off.

After only two years in the sport, she became European champion, a result that highlighted her potential despite taking up the event at a relatively advanced stage of her sporting career.

However, within just a few months of that victory, Potter was hit with some devastating news. Despite her phenomenal rise to prominence in the sport, British Triathlon announced they were withdrawing her funding, leaving the Scot feeling somewhat destitute.

“I’d hit the criteria several times and yet I wasn’t put on funding,” she said.

“I felt like any other athlete in any other sport who had become European champion would have been on funding. So that was a real blow.

“I was really upset about it for a while and they were using my age against me which I felt was really unfair.

“People get better at different times and my training age is completely different from my actual age because I’ve not been in the sport for that long.

“I’ve got the right attitude and I want to do this but it’s hard not having the back-up.

“I had several meetings with British Triathlon and they then agreed to help me a little.

“It all took its toll though. I had thoughts of giving up.

“But then I decided to use it as motivation and wanted to prove them wrong. I believe I can do it but it just helps when you have people backing you.”

Despite the funding blow, Potter got her head down and got herself in excellent shape for this season, which was then cut disappointingly short. And so having battled through the past twelve months with few competitive appearances to speak of, already Potter is already looking forward to another winter hard at it.

“I put in a big block of training last winter which was great but I don’t want to put myself in the position of racing again if I feel I’m not ready,” she said.

“I’d like to put in another big block of swimming over the winter. With the running, I have that race experience but I just don’t have that yet in triathlon so there’s still so much room to improve.”