Alex Teuten admitted his surprise after being called up to run for England in the Home Countries International in Northern Ireland on Saturday.
The City of Portsmouth athlete was originally selected for the South of England in the same race.
But his exceptional form this winter also caught the eye of England team manager Eamonn Martin, who has now given him the chance to represent the nation in the prestigious cross-country event.
The 23-year-old is proud to be in the team.
Teuten said: ‘I had already been selected for the South of England but I had to turn down the Southern team manager.
‘It’s that little bit more special running for England.
‘It’s quite an honour. I was surprised because I didn’t think my previous results would have been high enough.
‘It’s the four best athletes who are chosen and he (Eamonn Martin) considers me one of those athletes, which came as a bit of a shock.’
Teuten represented Hampshire in last Saturday’s UK Inter-County race.
He finished 19th in the high-quality senior men’s event in Birmingham and was the best placed Hampshire runner.
He also finished sixth in the British Universities & Colleges Sports Championships in January.
And his consistent form saw him win the Hampshire Cross-Country League series convincingly.
Now Teuten turns his attention to the Home Countries International in Antrim.
It’s the traditional end to the domestic cross country season.
The annual event attracts top talents from across the UK – including 2010 Commonwealth 1,500m bronze medallist Stephanie Twell, who will line-up on Saturday.
Teuten said: ‘I’m really excited to be going.
‘I’ve never been to Ireland before. My parents are coming over so it’ll be nice to have some support.
‘The course should be well suited to me.’
Teuten represented England in 2013 and was part of a winning team on that occasion.
Now he wants to replicate that success once again.
‘The aim would be to try to reach the top three,’ said the City athlete.
‘England are very strong and more often than not they win the competition.
‘The strength of the field means it will be quite tough.
‘Even if I come fourth, it would be a fantastic race.
‘It would be really great to be part of the winning team again.
‘It’s always nice to leave with a medal.’