LACHLAN WELLINGTON enjoyed his first Great Britain experience as he crowned his best year so far in style.
The 16-year-old City of Portsmouth athlete, from Fareham, shone in the trials for the European Cross Country Championships.
This earned him a place in the GB Under-20 team and when he raced in Slovakia against the best talents the continent has to offer he was the second youngest athlete in the field.
It was a fast race with the championship course made for the speed merchants, unlike the challenging terrain for the trials in Liverpool when he produced a stunning sixth-place finish to earn his GB place.
Wellington finished 60th in the European Championships but he had picked up a niggle in the trials.
The selection has completed an amazing year after earning medals at all the big major championships in cross country and on the track.
He said: ‘This has been my best year so far. Running for Great Britain was a very good experience.
‘I would have liked to have done better in the race but the experience was good.
‘It was good to be with the team, ideally I’d have liked to have been closer to some of the other GB runners like I was at the trials.
‘The trials probably was my best race so far. After that it was quite difficult to run and the week before the European Championships I didn’t train at all.’
Wellington and his coach Vince Stamp devised the plan to go to the trials and race for experience.
The hope was he would learn a lot and then return again in 2018 with the goal of making the under-20 GB team.
There was no fear for the talented City athlete and he quickly found himself near the front of the race.
From there he powered on in a small group and to his great credit managed sixth position, with five automatic places available. Then the GB selectors included him in the team.
He has now been called up again to run for Great Britain in January in the under-20 age group for the Great Edinburgh XCountry against Europe and the USA on Saturday, January 13.
The talented City athlete is backed by Portsmouth fitness store Alexandra Sports along with other members of Stamp’s coaching group.
This has been a big help to ensure the focus can be fully on races.
Alexandra Sports managing director Dawn Taylor is very supportive.
Stamp believes Wellington will gain a lot from his Great Britain selection.
He said: ‘Lachie is very calm and he lets his running do the talking.
‘When he races he always learns a lot and the plan with the trials was to go there for experience.
‘There was no pressure on him to make the team but he did that.
‘We get great support from Alexandra Sports and we are very thankful to them.’