The battle between Lachlan Wellington and his big rival Zak Mahamed didn’t quite ignite in the South of England Cross-Country Championships on Saturday.
The City of Portsmouth bus was delayed getting to the Parliament Hill venue in London after a couple of wrong turns.
With the under-15 boys’ race first on the schedule it left them in a rush to get ready for the start.
Despite the tension, Wellington still finished second as he completed the tough 4.5k course in a time of 16min 28sec.
His club-mate Jacob O’Hara also ran strongly to take sixth place (16.59).
But it was Mahamed who took the title, crossing the finish line in 16.18.
It was a reversal of the positions from the Hampshire Championships when Wellington finished first and Mahamed was adrift in second.
City coach Vince Stamp said: ‘Lachlan finished second to the United Kingdom number one and he wasn’t happy.
‘It is a good kind of disappointment.
‘His preparation was affected.
‘It was a big race between him and Zak.
‘Before a race you need to be relaxed but the bus arrived later than planned.
‘They had to dash over and get their numbers organised and get their chip timing sorted.
‘One lad from Tonbridge went flying off at the start but when Zak made his move it was decisive.’
City finished sixth in the team race with Steven Cross, 111th in 18.51, and Josh Goldfinch, 135th in 19.08, the third and fourth scorers.
In the senior men’s 15k race, Chris Zablocki finished second in 50.07.
The athlete from the United States is competing for Chichester Runners.
James Teuten was first to finish from City of Portsmouth, crossing the line in 307th position (1.02.30).