Alex Teuten will lead a strong City of Portsmouth challenge for medals in the Hampshire Cross-Country Championships tomorrow.
Last year he picked up the bronze at Fleming Park in Eastleigh but this time the race will be run on a new course at Fairthorne Manor.
I’m in the best shape I have been in going into the countiesAlex Teuten
Winchester’s Tom Anderson took the title in 2015 and the sponsored athlete, who spends a lot of time racing and training in the United States, would be a big threat again if he is on the start line.
As would Great Britain international Andy Vernon who could run but he has been training in Australia.
Teuten, who turned 24 on Sunday, has had a good block of training ahead of a busy few weeks when he will also target the BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport) Cross-Country Championships on Saturday, February 6 in Gloucester.
He said: ‘I’m hoping to win. I’m feeling pretty good. I have put the work in.
‘My training runs have been good over the past 30 days.
‘I’m not entirely sure if Tom Anderson will be there.
‘He is pretty much professional and is in and out of the States at the moment.
‘You could also face Andy Vernon, so those two would be hard to beat.
‘I haven’t won counties for a long time. I won it when I was about 11.
‘Sometimes I’m not in top form just past Christmas, or a Great Britain athlete comes along and wins it.
‘I’m not quite GB standard so it’s a bit frustrating really when that happens.
‘Fleming Park didn’t really suit me.
‘It had a lot of jagged bends. When you have to break stride a lot it tires you out and it suits the smaller, choppy athletes.
‘My best result there was last year when I got the bronze.
‘This time I’m in the best shape I have been in going into the counties.’
The senior men’s race starts at 1.55pm.
In the under-15 age group, Lachlan Wellington, Jacob O’Hara and 2015 county champion Josie Czura all have the quality to shine at the Curdridge venue.
The boys start at 11.15am and the girls at 11.35am.
Saffron Moore and Nicole Ainsworth have also been running well and their under-13 race starts at 11am.
City coach Vince Stamp is confident the club will have a good day.
He said: ‘All our top runners are competing.
‘Hopefully everyone is going to be fit and healthy – that’s the key.
‘Lachlan will be looking to give his big rival Zak Mahamed, from Southampton, a very hard race.
‘They are the top two in the age group in the country and Jacob is ranked in the top 10.
‘Josie will lead our under-15 girls’ challenge, while Saffron and Nicole will hopefully be fighting for the medals.
‘In the under-17s, Elizabeth Rose and Elizabeth Hedley have both been running strongly as bottom years.’
The action starts tomorrow with the boys’ under-11 race at 10.15am.