The Scottish triathlete Beth Potter was convinced the clock was wrong as she stormed to a stunning world-beating 5km road time – but now faces heartbreak as there were no drug testers present and under the rules her time will not count as a world record.
Potter, who was wearing the new Asics Metaspeed Sky super shoes, set her time of 14min 41sec – two seconds faster than the benchmark set in February by Beatrice Chepkoech – at the Podium 5km in the Lancashire village of Barrowford on Saturday night. However, World Athletics rules require “the first passing of urine” to be taken from an athlete for a record to be confirmed.
Nevertheless it was a remarkable run – especially as Potter has been concentrating on triathlon since racing in the 10,000m Olympic final in Rio. “That was beyond my expectations,” said the 29-year-old, who celebrated her time with a bacon sandwich and cycle ride on Sunday. “It all started to sink in when I had about a kilometre to go and I saw the clock said 11 something and I was trying to do the maths in my head, I was convinced the clock was wrong, I couldn’t believe it.”
However on Sunday, the Podium 5km organiser, Chris Barnes, confirmed that while the course was licensed and measured there were no UK Athletics level 4 timekeepers or drug testers on site – meaning there is no real chance of Potter’s time being ratified as a world record.
“World Athletics sent me a message asking everything from whether she had a drug test after the race, down to the wind speed,” said Barnes. “Because everyone was caught cold, including Beth, it is unlikely to be ratified as a world record.
“When Beth messaged me on Friday night to ask if she could be moved up to the sub-15 minute group she didn’t mention that she might run a record. However, World Athletics have sent the ratification forms through, asking me a range of questions, so I am hoping the door is not completely closed.”
Barnes added: “These records could go anywhere now, especially with these super shoes.”
It is also unclear whether Potter will be confirmed as the new 5km road British record holder after beating Paula Radcliffe’s record by 10 seconds – with one source saying she would if drug tested within 24 hours.
Only Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei has run faster – recording 14:32 during a 10km race in Prague in 2017. However, 5km road racing has only been recognised as an official world record event since January 2018.
Elsewhere, Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich smashed the world half-marathon mark in Istanbul on Sunday. The 26-year-old took 29 seconds off the world record with a time of 1hr 04min 02sec.