LACHLAN WELLINGTON stepped up his Lakeside 5k Series title challenge with another outstanding performance on Wednesday.
The City of Portsmouth athlete enjoyed a special birthday victory, having just turned 15.
He was too strong again for the best senior runners who were unable to latch on to his devastating mid-race surge at Lakeside North Harbour.
Wellington’s coach Vince Stamp was keen to make sure his athlete didn’t go blasting the accelerator to the floor from the off with a big English Schools’ race to focus on in less than two weeks time.
But in difficult conditions after rain all day and with a very strong wind, he still produced another excellent time, stopping the clock at 15.57.
Serial race winner James Baker took second place (16.13) and talented Eastleigh runner Tom Stevens finished third (16.16).
The first lady was defending series champion Lauren Hall, of Aldershot, Farnham & District.
She finished eighth overall in a time of 17.09.
Hall had not raced the opening two events but she was in top form again up against some quality runners including Ellie Monks (17.38), Jen Elkins (18.06), Emma Montiel (18.14) and another top City of Portsmouth talent Nicole Ainsworth (18.38).
Sticking to the plan, Wellington sat off the lead in the early stages of the race but as the runners turned back around the lake for the second lap he sensed the time was right and kicked away.
That forced a gap to Baker, Stevens and Southampton’s Tom Cully.
It proved a decisive move from the youngster who is an intelligent racer as well as being super fast.
He said: ‘It was quite good. The wind was hard.
‘The conditions made it difficult to come through the pack because I was in a group with two other people.
‘I had to try to get away from them because I knew my sprint probably wasn’t better than theirs.
‘My birthday was on Saturday so it was nice to win, a late birthday present. It’s really good.’
Times were quicker in race two with Wellington winning in 15.38 and the top three all inside 16 minutes.
But he has gone sub-16 now in all three 5k series races of 2016 – highlighting his remarkable consistency.
Now he will focus on taking on the very best from across the nation in the English Schools’ Championships.
He added: ‘It had rained during the day and it was quite windy going around for the second lap so it was quite a good time.
‘I have got a key race not this weekend but the weekend after at the English Schools in the 3,000m. I am hoping to medal there.
‘That meant I couldn’t go my quickest. But I’m just glad that I came home first. It was a good race, as opposed to time.
‘I’m very happy. I will train hard until Sunday and then I will ease down next week, ready to go.’
Race four of the Lakeside Series takes place on Wednesday, July 27 (7.15pm).