Best year yet as Teuten ups the pace

Alex Teuten running for England in Spain
Alex Teuten running for England in Spain
The carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth

Minor repair is made to supercarrier HMS Queen Elizabeth

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For Alex Teuten progress really is all about putting one foot in front of the other – just doing it as fast as possible.

The 24-year-old athlete has enjoyed his best year so far with several outings for England and some highly impressive domestic results.

He’s quickly becoming a regular at the front of the field in top quality races, battling it out with seasoned Great Britain internationals.

On the international stage his displays have been recognised by England cross-country team boss Eamonn Martin.

This saw him rewarded with three national call-ups in 2016.

Notable domestic performances, particularly in the Great South Run when Teuten finished seventh, have also caught the eye.

While for many Christmas is about putting your feet up, watching movies, and enjoying turkey with all the trimmings, it’s not quite like that for Teuten.

He’s been pounding the pavements in Portsmouth and running around the Mountbatten Centre track, stepping up to a 90-mile training week over the festive period.

Why? Because he’s eager to build on his endurance base ahead of a busy race schedule in 2017.

A first senior men’s title in the Hampshire Cross-Country Championships on Saturday, January 7 is one ambition as he looks to improve on his second place in January this year.

Then a few days later it’s on to Bermuda to represent England in his maiden road race international.

Teuten’s sights will also be fixed on big events later in the year but if he can start 2017 with a bang it will stand him in good stead.

Confidence will be high after his run of outstanding recent performances.

He said: ‘I would say 2016 has easily been my best year so far, I can’t have any complaints.

‘My second place finish in the steeplechase at the England Athletics Senior Championships (CAU Inter-County Championships) was a highlight and I had a cracking result in the Great South Run.

‘Getting a bronze medal in the 10,000m at the BUCS (British University Championships) was also a big step forward for me.

‘It was really pleasing to get a medal in a flat event on the track, it’s a test of pure endurance and that was a breakthrough performance for me.

‘I represented England three times, including finishing second in the Home Countries International cross-country race in Falkirk, in March.

‘It was a good race, I was first England scorer as well so that was great.

‘I’m hoping to make more progress next year.

‘The county championships should be a good race.

‘It would be fantastic to win it, I haven’t won a county cross-country title since I was 12 years old.

‘That year it was funny because I had to go from the back of the field and overtake everyone.

‘I think that was the first time people saw I had quite a lot of potential.

‘Everyone went past me at the start and I fell over.

‘I had to pick myself up and run through the entire field.

‘The line was at the end of the funnel and one of my rivals, William Bodkin, slowed right down in the funnel.

‘I went past him and they judged that I won the race.

‘At the time I think he was annoyed but he took it in good spirits, eventually!

‘I haven’t won it again since then, the championships are always difficult, so strong.

‘Hampshire has so many top athletes and it depends who turns up on the day.

‘You could have Lee Merrien, who is hard to beat, as well as the likes of Tom Anderson, Andy Vernon and Andrew Greenleaf.

‘But I know I’m in very good shape going into it, so maybe this could be the one, you never know. I’m going into it with an open mind.

‘A senior county title would mean a lot to me.

‘Then I fly to Bermuda on Wednesday and the time difference will be interesting. Do I try to adjust, or not?

‘I think I will have to, because the races are early in the morning.

‘I’m racing the 10k for England on the Saturday.

‘Then I will run the half marathon on Sunday because that is the kind of long run I would do on the day after a race.

‘I’m targeting the 10k. The half will be for a run out really. I never would be able to do both with the same intensity.

‘It’s important for me to get a good 10k time.

‘I don’t have a representative time really, I have been running my 10k pace in cross-country so put me on a faster surface and hopefully I will get a better time.

‘We’ve got an excellent England team for this event.

‘Scott Overall and Matt Sharp are going.

Gemma Steele is a well-known Great Britain international and she’s in the team.

‘I’ve been off the speed sessions for a week or two over Christmas, focusing on doing 85 to 90-mile weeks.

‘It’s nice to have a little bit of a rest from the speed training and do some easy miles.

‘The level of intensity is very important in training and I’ve been taking a step back on that for a couple of weeks.’

After spending 16 years as a City of Portsmouth athlete, Teuten has now switched to Southampton.

He spends a lot of time training there while studying at university where he is now doing a PhD.

His university running group is based there as well as his coach Roderick Lock.

Next year will bring the invaluable opportunity to compete at the top level of the British Athletics League after Southampton earned promotion to the premiership this year.

Teuten’s ambition burns bright and his progress in recent years has certainly seen him on an upward curve.

His international experience is helping him to learn about top level racing and he analyses every detail of each event, looking to see where precious fractions of a second could be shaved off.

He added: ‘I am improving and I want to do a lot more in the sport, I’ve still got quite a few ambitions.

‘For next year I’ve already set out my race plan. There’s the national cross-country championships in February and the inter counties in Loughborough.

‘I also have the BUCS (British University and Colleges Sport) – I would love to be able to get a medal at the cross country championships. It has eluded me so far.

‘Competing at the top level of the British League for Southampton will be really useful.

‘They are tactical races. It’s a different type of racing, preparing you really well for championships and giving you a mental edge.’

Teuten will also be competing in the British Championships on the track in the steeplechase after achieving automatic qualification.

His progress in 2016 suggests exciting times are ahead for the talented athlete.