JOSIE CZURA’s emerging class was underlined at the Saucony English Cross Country Nationals.
City of Portsmouth’s exciting distance queen stormed to a podium place as she finished third at Wollaton Park in Nottingham.
The 13-year-old was just four seconds off the winner after she clocked a time of 11min 46sec to finish behind Wimborne’s Grace Copeland and Herne Hill Harriers’ Alex Brown.
It was another effort full of promise from Czura.
Coach Gerry North praised her display and believes the performance will help her running education.
North said: ‘Josie is a talent, no doubt.
‘But she left it a bit too late this time. She was a only four seconds behind the winner.
‘If it’d been any further she’d have won it. If someone goes you have to go with them.
‘But it’s still a brilliant run for Josie at a national. They are a top class girls – and so is she.’
Czura was one of a large swathe of City athletes competing at the nationals.
Anya Pigden also delivered a strong showing at under-13 level as she finished 70th in 13.08.
Mia Billins was 241st (14.22), Eleanor Purdue 281st (14.38), Cheyanne James 336th (15.02) and Bo Sansom 389th (15.41).
In the under-13 boys, Lachlan Wellington delivered an excellent display for someone of his relative inexperience to finish 14th as he clocked 11.33.
Harry Moore came home in 121st place (12.29), with Adam Kimber 152nd (12.44) and Steven Cross registering the same time a place behind him. Ben Czura was 273rd home in 13.33.
In the under-15 girls’ race, Elizabeth Hedley and Lizzie Rose shone with their performances.
Hedley was 33rd (16.36), with Rose six places behind her team-mate in 16.44.
Maisie Grice was 162nd (18.21), Sophie Carabott 238th (19.13) and Serena Hawkes 271st (20.06)
In the under-15 boys, Ted Yeates was 94th (15.39), Harry Blay was 178th (16.29) and Kieron James was 227th (17.02).
At under-17 level, Ethan Bevis was the top City performer, finishing 59th (21.30), with Ellie Czura 126th in the women’s race in 22.14.
Next up for Czura is the UK Inter-County Cross Country Championships in Birmingham next weekend.
Czura will form part of the Hampshire team competing over 3,000 at under-13 level at Cofton Park.
North said: ‘She has her sights on that. She wants to do well and really wants to go for that one.
‘Josie’s got the bit between the teeth for that one.
‘I’ll be doing my bit to help her and tell her how to run the race.
‘She’s enjoying her racing.
‘Josie won’t sulk and will be more determined after being beaten.
‘It’s all on the day and she will give it her all.