City of Portsmouth aces Czura and Wellington seal podium spots

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Josie Czura and Lachlan Wellington picked up medals as they stepped up a gear in the South of England Cross Country Championships.

The duo, who have been running well throughout the winter, led a highly-talented City of Portsmouth contingent at Stanmer Park, in Brighton, on Saturday.

Czura finished second in the under-15 girls’ race, only beaten by a strong performance from Tonbridge athlete Kathleen Faes.

Meanwhile, Wellington’s run was outstanding as he sealed a bronze in the under-15 boys’ race.

City coach Vince Stamp was thrilled to see the duo on the podium.

He said: ‘Josie and Lachlan are in really good form.

‘Lachlan was chuffed to bits to get the bronze medal. He has really stepped up a gear.

‘Josie was very pleased with the way she ran.

‘She couldn’t have done any more on the day.’

A total of 235 of the south’s top athletes lined up for the under-15 girls’ race.

But it soon became a scrap between four for the medals.

Czura, who is a bottom year in the age group, looked comfortable in the lead group.

However, it was Faes who showed her power as she got away to seal victory, completing the tough 4,000m course in a time of 14min 01sec.

Czura left the rest trailing as she gave chase, finishing comfortably clear of third place, just six seconds behind the winner (14.07).

City’s Elizabeth Rose crossed the line in 33rd spot in a time of 15.23.

Elizabeth Hedley was the third City athlete home as she secured 44th place in 15.39, while Anya Pigden was the fourth scorer (81st place, 16.29).

The Portsmouth club just missed out on a team medal as they finished in sixth place.

In the under-15 boys’ race, Tonbridge runner James Puxty broke away to win, completing the 4,500m course in 15.04.

Wellington, who is a bottom year in the age group, produced a storming finish to secure his bronze medal (15.08).

He was close to a silver as well. The City athlete recorded the same time as England international Zak Mahamed, who was given second place.

Jacob O’Hara finished 23rd in a time of 15.56 for City.

Ted Yeates came in 103rd (17.07) and Harry Moore was the fourth scorer in 104th with the same time, as the team finished eighth.

City’s under-13 girls came seventh in their team event.

Olivia Wiseman was their first finisher. She completed the 3,000m course in a time 11.34 to secure 14th place.

Cheyenne James was 29th, in 11.57, Bo Sansom was 46th, with a time of 12.07, and Saffron Moore finished 91st in 12.38.

In the senior men’s event, Dan O’Boyle delivered a good performance for Stubbington.

He conquered the tough 15,000m course in a time of 54.31 to finish 50th out of the 857-strong field.

James Baker crossed the line in 65th for Chichester (55.07).

The next big target will be the National Cross-Country Championships at Parliament Hill, in London, on Saturday, February 21.