Smart-Cookie Saffron takes a major step forward as Portsmouth athletes shine

Saffron Moore, centre, with Nicole Ainsworth and Charlotte Bullard

Saffron Moore, centre, with Nicole Ainsworth and Charlotte Bullard

Paul Mitchinson, Pete Collins and Rob Arkell in Gosport 5k action

Victory’s Mitchinson wins second Gosport 5k race

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Saffron Moore won her first major title in fine style as City of Portsmouth athletes celebrated a memorable hat-trick in Bedfordshire.

Lachlan Wellington and Josie Czura also recorded wins for Hampshire in the South of England Inter-Counties Championships.

She is a smart cookie and I’m very pleased for her

Vince Stamp

The event was hosted in Biggleswade and Moore ran intelligently to win the under-13 girls’ 3k race with a time of 10min 32sec.

Czura was in a class of her own in the under-15 girls’ 4k race as she won with a time of 13.17.

In the under-15 boys’ 4k race Wellington started as firm favourite, with big rival Zak Mahamed not running.

The pressure was no burden, though, as he picked his moment to surge clear and completed a comprehensive win in a time of 12.02.

Coach Vince Stamp praised the victorious trio.

He said: ‘It was an excellent event for the club.

‘We had athletes in four age groups and we won three individual titles.

‘They are working hard and getting the results.

‘For Saffron it was a first win in a race of that standard.

‘Her tactics were brilliant. We wanted her to tuck in and try not to lead.

‘She then kicked in the final stages to win by a second. She is a smart cookie and I’m very pleased for her.

‘Lachlan went into his race as favourite and he justified that. When he made his move he was gone. He won by 13 seconds.

‘Josie won by 27 seconds and that’s her holding back. It was the third year in a row she has won this title.’

Moore led the Hampshire under-13 girls to a silver in the team race, with Nicole Ainsworth second scorer as she finished sixth with a time of 10.38.

Yazmin Knight crossed the line 80th in 12.01.

Their City club-mate Charlotte Bullard, representing Sussex, was not 100-per-cent fit but she bravely ran well to finish 39th in 11.16.

Hampshire’s under-15 girls, led by Czura, picked up a bronze medal.

Bo Sansom was 55th with a time of 15.08, while Anya Pigden crossed the line 77th in 15.35, as she continued her recovery from injury.

Olivia Wiseman, who is a bottom year in the age group, ran for Sussex and finished 13th in 14.04.

Wellington’s fine display for the under-15 boys was backed up by City athlete Jacob O’Hara, who is coached by Pat Butcher.

O’Hara was Hampshire’s second scorer as he finished 10th in 12.35.

Unfortunately the team missed out on a podium spot as they ended up seventh.

City also had two other runners in the age group and both did well as bottom years.

Callum Crook was 57th in 13.26, with Tom Haskell 79th in 13.53.

Aldershot, Farnham & District athlete Maisie Grice, from Fareham, helped Hampshire to a team silver medal in the under-17 girls’ 5k race as she finished 16th in 18.35.

City’s Elizabeth Hedley, who is also a bottom year, crossed the line 17th with a time of 18.42.

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