JOSIE CZURA heads into this weekend’s Hampshire Track & Field Championships on a high after confirming her status as the UK’s number one mile runner.
The City of Portsmouth athlete outlined her talent by running the fastest under-15 girls’ mile of the season so far with an impressive 4min 56.8sec showing at a British Milers Club meeting in Brighton last week.
Czura – whose time was the fifth fastest ever by a UK athlete in her age group – will now look to continue her impressive form when she competes at the Mountbatten Centre in the 800m and 1,500m races this weekend.
City coach Vince Stamp believes ‘fantastic’ Czura, who is still only 13 years old, is one of many promising young athletes at the club.
And he pointed to last week’s successful Brighton meeting as cause for optimism at the Hampshire Championships, which this year plays host to more than 700 athletes – the highest number of entrants since 2003.
‘There were a selection of athletes from our club competing last week in Brighton at the Withdean,’ said Stamp.
‘I took six athletes down there – all of whom recorded personal bests over the mile distance.
‘Josie ran a fantastic mile race in a time of 4:56.8, which took her to UK number one.
‘The more prudent point, though, is that she also went to number five on the UK all-time list for under-15 girls.
‘To do that as a bottom year under-15 athlete – as a 13-year-old – is a fantastic achievement.
‘She joins some seasoned internatonals on that list.
‘But alongside Josie there are some other possible stars who will be competing this weekend.’
Stamp detailed the achievements of his young group and outlined the strength in depth at the club as they look to make an impact at the Mounbatten Centre.
He said: ‘Young Josie is doing an 800m and 1,500m double. Ted Yeates finished one place and less than half-a-second behind his training partner Josie in Brighton with a time of 4:57.4.
‘He is UK-ranked number four for the mile for under-15 boys and will be racing at 1,500m and 3,000m at the Hampshire Championships.
‘Lachlan Wellington is a bottom-year under-15 boys athlete who is still only 13 and ran his mile in 5:03. He will do the 3,000m race.
‘Elizabeth Hedley ran 5:25 to claim the second-fastest woman’s time behind Josie but will not be competing this weekend because she is away,
‘Bradley Moore, an under-20 runner, ran a personal best in 5:26 – as did younger brother Harry, who is competing in the championships this weekend in the 800m and 1,500m, with 5:27.’
Outside of Stamp’s successful Brighton performers, City of Portsmouth continue to look strong contenders for Mountbatten Centre glory.
Elizabeth Rose will compete alongside Czura in the under-15 girls’ 800m and 1,500m races, while Anya Pigden will compete in the 800m.
Cheyanne James will challenge for medals in the under-13 girls’ 1,500m race, while Madeline Wilton will compete in the 800m.’
Stamp has also tipped under-20 City of Portsmouth runner Matt Smith and under-15 athlete Jacob O’Hara – trained by Pat Butcher – for success.