Daniel Bailey secured a silver medal at the World Long Distance Duathlon Championships in Switzerland.
The Victory Athletics Club youngster led for large parts of the event – which consisted of a running leg, cycling stage and another running phase – until a knee injury 5K from the finish line saw him overtaken by Belgian Jan Baumgartner.
However, Bailey soldiered on to fend off New Zealand’s Adam Milne and secure second place in a time of 7hrs 23min 15sec.
He said: ‘Nothing can prepare you for seven hours of racing until you do it, and it was an event I had to change my training for – I dropped the speed aspects entirely.
‘The days leading up to the race were sunny and about 30 degrees but the temperature dropped on the day of the race which was good.
‘I prefer those conditions so it was good in some aspects but there’s also the risk of a slippery track and hypothermia.’
Bailey described the moment his injury kicked in to deny him victory, saying there was ‘no warning’.
He said: ‘I was determined to finish despite the knee problem – it just gave way and bent inwards with 5km to go.
‘I couldn’t put any weight on it which made that last distance a real struggle.
‘I think it was just adrenaline keeping me going.’
Medics came to Bailey’s aid at the track side for 10 minutes, providing ice and encouraging Bailey to stay down.
But after missing out on the World Triathlon Championships in Beijing due to funding, Bailey was not to be denied.
He set off from the front of the pack for the first of two runs, with the mountainous track climbing as high as 200m early on.
Bailey began the 150km bike ride in pole position, and the slippery track provided problems for the 400-strong field.
But it was late on that drama kicked in for Bailey, his injury meaning he had to sit and watch as Baumgartner ran by and went on to win by a four-minute margin.
Nevertheless, it was an impressive result for Bailey, who made the decision to complete only a month before.
He said: ‘I wanted to go to the world triathlon but the cost of getting there was too steep and we have to do all that ourselves.
‘Team GB go about it all wrong, really – it’s very frustrating when very good athletes can’t afford to go but those who do go often don’t achieve medal places.’
Bailey has greater things in sight, though, as he plans his future in the sport.
‘The winter training programme is in now and I’m looking ahead to the national elite events next year,’ he said.
‘After that, I’d like to go for the European and World Championships, then perhaps the 2016 Olympics or 2014 Commonwealth Games.’
Bailey showed his huge potential in 2010 when he was crowned European junior duathlon champion, while he also bagged a silver medal at the World Duathlon Championships in Edinburgh.