England team boss Eamonn Martin on the case to help Lachlan Wellington land international trophy

Lachlan Wellington, left, won the Hampshire Cross-Country title and he then picked up a bronze medal for England in Seville. Picture: Paul Smith
Lachlan Wellington, left, won the Hampshire Cross-Country title and he then picked up a bronze medal for England in Seville. Picture: Paul Smith
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Lachlan Wellington produced a brilliant run to finish third for England in Seville – then needed some help from team manager Eamonn Martin to land his trophy.

The City of Portsmouth runner, 17, competed in the under-20 race in the Cross Internacional de Itálica and took third place behind two high-calibre Portuguese athletes.

As a result he picked up a nice engraved trophy to bring back to England with him.

But when he landed at the airport he soon realised his suitcase hadn’t turned up.

It didn’t make it back to the country from Seville.

In a stroke of good fortune, though, he hadn’t had enough room in the case for his trophy.

England team manager Eamonn Martin, one of Great Britain’s all-time best distance runners, packed it in his case instead and thus ensured it was in safe keeping when they landed back at the airport.

It’s just as well because it was a hard-earned international prize from an excellent race.

City coach Vince Stamp said: ‘There was a bit of a mishap with the case not turning up – but Lachie was very, very lucky with how it turned out in the end.

‘He had picked up a nice trophy for finishing third, an engraved plate.

‘But he couldn’t fit it in his case so luckily the team manager Eamonn Martin packed Lachie’s trophy in his case because he had more room.

‘Thankfully it is safe, he has still got his trophy and that’s irreplaceable – an international trophy for third place.

‘He doesn’t have his case still, he just has his backpack and, like all athletes tend to do, he had put his spikes in there so that’s good.

‘The race was a confidence booster for him. It was a good trip.

‘We’re very pleased. It’s a nudge in the right direction towards getting in the shape we want him to be in for the big races to come later this winter.

‘He needs races and he is certainly going to get them over the next months.’

Martin, the most recent British male winner of the London Marathon when he ran 2hr 10min 50sec in 1993, selected Wellington alongside Southampton’s Mahamed Mahamed who raced in the senior event.

They were the only two men in the England team for the IAAF meeting, with lots of other high-profile races taking place as well over the weekend.

They were joined by ladies Jessica Piasecki, Verity Ockenden and Lucy Reid in Spain.

Wellington was the highest placed of all of the England runners with his podium position in the under-20 race.

Stamp added: ‘The surface was hard, compact ground so it was fast and the two lads he broke away with are track specialists from Portugal.

‘We are pleased Lachie stayed with them until the final 1k, he was in the mix with them when their track speed showed.

‘Position wise it was a better result than we anticipated and with each week he is feeling the sharpness coming back.’

It is a busy run of fixtures throughout the next two months.

The South of England Cross Country Championships take place on Saturday at Parliament Hill in London.