Heat turned up in Leeds as Portsmouth racers show national credentials

Jacob O'Hara competing earlier this winter. Picture: Paul Smith
Jacob O'Hara competing earlier this winter. Picture: Paul Smith
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The City of Portsmouth contingent produced some solid results in the National Cross Country Championships.

With the event up in Leeds it was always going to be a smaller team than those competing at the southerns in London.

But the City athletes who did make the trip among the 8,000-plus competitors were able to hold their own with some bright and encouraging performances.

Jacob O’Hara, who is coached by Steve Purser, was pleased with his run in the junior men’s race as a bottom year.

On a tough course he managed 27th position in a really high-class field of 201 athletes.

His time was 30.07 for the race of approximately 10k.

It’s a star-studded age group loaded with national champions and internationals over various different events.

Rory Leonard finished in first place – a training partner for O’Hara and southern champion Lachlan Wellington at a camp in Somerset recently.

City’s Wellington was 11th in the nationals with his time of 29.28.

It was a good position, again as a bottom year, and he battled on as warm weather and dehydration caused issues on the day.

William Campbell has had an excellent season and he performed superbly to finish 139th out of 346 in the 4k under-15 boys' race with a time of 15.21.

The other City athlete to compete in the race was Samuel Colbourne who also ran well to take 207th position and finish in 15.58.

Saffron Moore finished 55th out of 220 in the under-17 women’s race with a time of 20.11 for the course of around 5k.

Penelope Batty was 156th with 22.31, while Phoebe Carlile was 208th in 26.06.

In the under-15 girls’ race City had strong representation.

Holly Wilkinson led the way with a time of 17.04 in 101st position out of 362.

Natalya Smith was 163rd (17.51), Libby Evans was 237th (18.43), Poppy Edwards was 246th (18.52) and Aaliyah Arkell was 330th in 20.50.

In the senior men’s race Lewis Banner finished 481st out of 2,008 with a good run to complete the extremely hilly 12k course in 44.39.

Adam O’Hara was 742nd in a time of 47.10 and that was another good run after finishing 381st in the southerns and 55th in the county championships.