City slickers are muddy marvels

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JOSIE CZURA led City of Portsmouth’s muddy marvels at the South of England Cross Country Championships.

Czura was one of a series of outstanding performers on the steep slopes of Parliament Hill for her club.

The Gerry North-trained athlete added another impressive title to her list as she took victory in the under-13 event in the capital.

Czura bided her time before making the move over the final 800m of the 3,000m course.

That was enough for her to break clear of her rivals and take a success by seven seconds in 12min 17sec.

Czura was joined by some excellent displays from her team-mates.

She combined with Olivia Wiseman (41st, 14.04), Anya Pigden (58th, 14.17) and Cheyenne James (60th, 14.19) to take a team bronze.

Bo Sansom (93rd, 14.39), Maddie Wilton (124th, 15.02), Mia Billins (166th, 15.31), Serena Vincent (246th, 16.57) and Lucy Moore (253rd, 17.12) all were involved for City.

Coach Vince Stamp was delighted with the performance of Czura – and the rest of the athletes involved.

Stamp said: ‘It was heavy conditions under foot, liquid mud in some places.

‘But it was a great race and all the performances were good.

‘Josie was sixth getting to the top in the group who pulled away early on.

‘It was a war of attrition so she didn’t over-commit.

‘She kept pushing hard and broke with one girl with her over the last 800m. Josie knew when to make her move and attacked hard.

‘That got her a couple of metres and she worked for it.

‘In the end she won by seven seconds, which is a very impressive run.

‘That gives her the south of England title to go with her, county and southern inter-counties titles.’

Lachlan Wellington underlined his promise despite his relative lack of experience, to finish 10th in the under-13 boys’ race in 12.17.

Harry Moore was 57th (12.59) with Adam Kimber crossing in 114th (13.32), Steven Cross 170th (14.07), Tom Haskell 200th (14.29) and Ben Czura 204th (14.33).

With five of the seven finishers bottom years, hopes are high for the under-15 girls moving forward.

Elizabeth Hedley came home 22nd (16.06), Maisie Grice 73rd (17.23), Bobbie Davies 129th (18.19), Sophie Carabott, 162nd (18.49), Fennella Johnson 226nd (20.28), Harriet Todd 240th (20.45) and Rachel Muckelt 265th (21.58).

In the under-15 boys, over 4,500m, Ted Yeates led home the City side finishing 53rd in 17.33.

Next up was Will Wall (138th, 18.39), Harry Blay (175th, 19.18) and Kieran James, who finished 190th in 19.41 despite losing one of his spikes on the course.

Lauren McCarthy finished 60th at under-17 level (23.36) with Ellie Czura 77th (24.12) and Grace Smith 103rd (25.40).

In the under-17 boys Ethan Bevis impressed as he finished 26th (22.08)

Stamp said: ‘There were a lot of great performances, a host of top runs and efforts which show a lot of promise, especially from bottom-year athletes.’

A number of the Parliament Hill runners have now been selected to run for Hampshire at the UK Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships at Cofton Park in Birmingham on March 8.

Josie Czura, Pigden, Wellington, Moore, Hedley, Rose and Bevis have all been called up to take part.