Czura and Wellington pick up medals for England

Josie Czura, centre, left, and Lachlan Wellington, centre, right, with their City club-mates
Josie Czura, centre, left, and Lachlan Wellington, centre, right, with their City club-mates
Runners stream past HMS Victory in the Historic Dockyard

Great South Run

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Josie Czura and Lachlan Wellington picked up bronze medals for England as they finished the winter season in fine style.

Both City of Portsmouth athletes were in strong form going into the Schools International Athletics Board Cross-Country against Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Each team was made up of eight runners for the Dublin showdown.

The competition was fierce but the City duo were not daunted by the task.

Wellington delivered a brilliant performance to put the icing on the cake for him after an excellent run of results during the cross-country season.

He comfortably finished third as England won the junior boys’ team race despite Ireland’s Darragh McElhinney taking the individual gold.

McElhinney finished the course, of around 3.7k, in a time of 12.52.

England’s Josh Cowperthwaite was second in 13.01 and Wellington crossed the line third (13.07).

The top three were comfortably clear of the rest and England finished with five of the top six athletes.

For Wellington, who attends Cams Hill School in Fareham, it was a great result and a performance to be proud of.

City coach Vince Stamp said: ‘Lachlan focused all winter on making the England team and now he has got an international medal as well.

‘He ran brilliantly. He peaked at the right time.

‘Apart from the national cross-country when he struggled with illness he has had some great results.

‘He did superbly at the inter-counties and then got a medal at the English Schools’ Championships.

‘Now he’s had a brilliant run in Dublin to cap it all off.’

Czura’s silver medal in the English Schools’ Cross-Country Championships ensured she started as one of the favourites in the junior girls’ race.

But she was again alongside her big rival Kathleen Faes, from Kent, who got the gold in that race in Blackburn.

The flat 3k course for the international was not ideally suited to the 14-year-old City of Portsmouth ace.

She would have liked something a bit more challenging and it was Faes who finished first in 9min 40sec.

Tilly Simpson crossed the line second in 9.47 and Czura was third in 9.52 as England completed a clean sweep to dominate the team race.

Coach Vince Stamp stressed it was another strong showing from the Cams Hill School pupil.

She won silver at the international last year and should be pleased to get another medal – even though it wasn’t the colour she wanted.

‘Josie helped the England team to a big win,’ added Stamp.

‘We’re all delighted with how she ran but she was a little bit disappointed – she always wants to do better.

‘We talked about a slight change of tactics before the race but it wasn’t really suited to her strong points.’

To have two athletes earning international medals has been a big boost for Stamp’s training group.

It was the crowning glory for an excellent winter season with many of his athletes impressing for Hampshire and at national level as well.

Stamp said: ‘It’s superb. We’ve got two internationals and they are both from Cams Hill School as well.

‘The hard work they have put in has paid off.’