Alex Teuten: Cross specialists can make experience count

Alex Teuten racing in Slovakia for Great Britain
Alex Teuten racing in Slovakia for Great Britain
Elliott Evans, coach Terry Price and Hollie Thurgood. Picture: Paul Smith

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Southsea’s Great Britain international athlete Alex Teuten gives his verdict on cross-country racing, selection for the European Championships and earning praise from the stars...

Specialising at cross country

Great Britain's Hannah England (left)

Great Britain's Hannah England (left)

The cross is a very interesting surface. It sort of evens the playing field.

You’ve got the cross specialists. There is an ability to feel the surface.

You can’t prepare for it, I suppose it comes from experience.

Some people have it and I like to think I am one of the people that does.

Great Britain's Andy Vernon (left) and Andrew Butchart

Great Britain's Andy Vernon (left) and Andrew Butchart

It compensates for the fact that maybe I’m not an established name.

It was very telling on the day of the trials for the European Championships.

The top three finishers were probably not the people really expected.

Praise from the stars

After the race in Slovakia I had glowing praise from Steve Cram and Hannah England, who were talking about how inspirational my performance was. To hear that from great athletes who have achieved so much in their careers is fantastic.

Liz Yelling spoke to me afterwards and she said I could take a lot of pride from my run and that I showed guts. She told me I’d be stronger next time and I know that’s right.

Chris Thompson was out there on media duties and we were catching up about the Great South Run which he won. Chris said he felt before the race that I was the one he feared the most. That was pretty amazing to hear with the likes of Matt Sharp in the race. Chris said that if I had stuck with the attack when the leaders got away there was no reason why I couldn’t have won.

Next year Chris will be going for his third title in a row which would be a fantastic achievement. Hopefully I’ll be there to rival him and although it would be a bit sad in a way I hope I can be the one to stop him doing that.

Andy Vernon’s selection query

A lot of people were talking about what Andy Vernon said that he should have been selected for the European Championships. It was quite a surprise to me what he said.

With Dewi Griffiths not able to finish the race due to injury we missed out on a winning team but it was just unfortunate.

He did the trials without any problems and he felt he would be okay. It could have happened to anyone.

Dewi wanted to do as well as he could. He was leading so that was a pretty strong statement of intent on his part.

The athletes in the team are honest individuals. They wouldn’t have gone out there with the intention of not finishing.

Sam Stabler finished behind me and it was his first experience as well. Like me he was probably affected by the occasion.

We didn’t have guys representing with the intention of pulling out.

Andy Butchart made the point that this was what the trial was for (to guarantee a place in the team).

If Andy Vernon wanted to guarantee a place in the team he needed to be in the first four in the trials. That’s what I did and that’s what Sam did.

Andy Butchart and Tom Lancashire finished fifth and sixth in the trials and they got the extra places. They were next in line and they both performed well in the race. Andy got the bronze and Tom was our third scorer so they showed they warranted their positions on the team.

We will see what happens in Edinburgh now. Andy Vernon has to run well to make his point really. I hope he does well when he is representing the team.

It’s just a shame about what he said, though.