Czura continues rapid progress on a great day for City

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Anja Fairbairn. Picture: Paul Smith

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Josie Czura delivered a dazzling performance as City of Portsmouth under-15 girls’ A team picked up a bronze medal in the National Young Athletes Road Relays.

Czura was on the second leg for the City squad and she gained a remarkable 31 places to take the team up from 33rd to second.

Her time of 13min 15sec for the tough 3.8k course was comfortably the fastest out of all 220 runners in the under-15 race in Birmingham.

City coach Vince Stamp believes it was also the best time since current Great Britain senior internationals Jess Judd and Emelia Gorecka ran against each other in the relays back in 2007.

Czura picked up the baton from Maisie Grice, who ran the first leg in 15.11, and then handed it on to Elizabeth Rose, who brought City home in third with a time of 14.17 – the 14th best time of the day.

Stamp rates Czura’s performance as one of the top runs he has ever seen, on a day when all the young City athletes performed well across the age groups.

‘We knew Josie was going to run well but didn’t expect it to be as good as that,’ said Stamp.

‘I have watched many stars. I remember watching a young Mo Farah but watching the way Josie ran there was one of the best runs I have witnessed.

‘To gain all those places, with the time she was giving away as well, was unbelievable to watch. It was an outstanding run.

‘She’s a bottom year and I know the difference that means. She’s 13 and she’s beaten all but one of the under-17s – and they are top-class under-17s. Some of them could even be 17 now.

‘They use the same course every year and it was the fastest time in five years for an under-15. I have looked back and can only find Jess Judd and Emelia Gorecka who ran faster than Josie in 2007. They were in the same race and they did it as top years, so they were 14 or 15 at the time.’

City under-15 girls B team finished a credible 24th overall out of 66 teams, with Anya Pigden (15.16), Elizabeth Hedley (15.03) and Bobbie Davies (15.40) running well.

The City C squad was made up of Laura Irvine (16.19), Eleanor Purdue (16.20), and Seren Hawkes (16.18) and they came home in 44th place.

Lucy Moore (17.12) also ran as an individual in the under-15s.

The City under-13 girls were also in great form as they secured seventh place.

Cheyenne James took them out in 15.11, Olivia Wiseman gained nine places to take them team up to fourth with a 15.00 time, and Bo Sansom finished the job in 15.46.

Nia Billings also ran in the under-13s and achieved a time of 15.56.

The under-15 boys finished 13th overall.

Jacob O’Hara ran 13.15 on leg one, Lachlan Wellington completed the second leg in 13.07, and Ted Yeates brought them home in 13.29 – despite being hampered by a knee injury.

Their B team of Adam Kimber (14.26), Harry Moore (14.09) and Will Wall (15.07) finished 47th.

City didn’t have a full team in the under-13 boys but Joshua Goldfinch (14.18) and Ben Czura (15.09) both ran well.

It was the same in the under-17s, with Harry Blay (13.26) and Kieron James (14.50) representing the Mountbatten Centre-based club.

Overall, Stamp was delighted with the performance of the City contingent.

He said: ‘So many of the athletes ran up to a minute faster than they did last year on the same course.

‘It was another successful day for the club.’