Alex Teuten is determined to build on his first outing for Great Britain as he prepares for part two of his dream double.
He finished 2017 on a high by securing his first GB vest for the European Championships in Slovakia where the team earned a bronze medal.
Then it was announced he had been rewarded with his second call-up for the upcoming Great Edinburgh X-Country on Saturday, January 13.
Teuten, from Southsea, who turned 26 yesterday, had some mixed feelings about his GB bow.
The race didn’t quite go to plan as he would have liked and he finished in 38th position after being in the lead group early on.
Small margins make a huge difference at the top but overall it was an experience to savour and learn from.
Now he is looking ahead to his next opportunity with confidence.
He said: ‘I’m really pleased to be racing again for Great Britain. The course in Edinburgh will be more like the conditions in Liverpool where I had such a good race in the trials for the European Championships to qualify for the GB team.
‘For me it was a bit disappointing in Slovakia to be fourth for the team with three scorers.
‘Ben Connor was two seconds ahead of me in Liverpool when he won that race and I finished second. Based on our performances on paper there is not much between us but he had a good run and got sixth place in Slovakia.
‘It is a very high standard and if you are not at your very best it can make a significant difference.
‘At the time I felt like a lot of people were going past me.
‘Looking back at it, though, I don’t think I did that badly.
‘It just wasn’t my best race and I was quite disappointed with my result overall.
‘If everything had gone right I know I could have been in the top 10.
‘I could be much more competitive in Edinburgh.
‘Hopefully I can go there and have a perfect race. I want to be competitive in the race itself and give a performance I am proud of. I know I can be better than I did in Slovakia.
‘A lot of what happened there was down to my lack of experience which is fine, I will learn from it.
‘Health problems played a part in that as well and after the race I spoke with the team managers who reassured me.
‘Team GB have been very helpful. They have talked through things I can do. I had stomach pain. It comes with nerves and nervous energy. It was my first GB vest.
‘Ben and I were on the front row, we had an excellent starting position and I had quite a good reaction to the gun. I was leading the race for a little bit which maybe was a bit silly. It made a good photo though. I never really felt I settled during the race.’
The flat course on hard ground in Slovakia certainly wasn’t a true cross country circuit.
It played more into the hands of the faster track runners and those who have excelled with quicker times over 5,000m.
Teuten, who is coached by Roderick Lock and now represents Southampton, alongside his friend and fellow GB international Mahamed Mahamed, after spending most of his career with City of Portsmouth, hasn’t yet translated his best form to the track.
He added: ‘A lot of the European courses are quite flat.
‘So much of it comes down to your speed and the track times you have run.
‘It wasn’t a surprise to see Andy Butchart shine on that course and he raced so well to finish third.
‘Andy has run 13.08 for 5k and Ben Connor has gone sub 13.30. I haven’t run those times but I know I am capable.
‘One good 5k can really make the difference. The experience I will get from it will be so important. You feel more confident and more competitive over those sort of races.
‘I knew the course in Slovakia would be like that and that’s why I went out to Spain to race earlier in the season. You have to prepare for the harder courses. You have to adapt to the conditions.’
The more experienced Great Britain athletes in the team welcomed Teuten.
He was able to enjoy the whole experience of racing abroad in the GB vest and taking home a team medal certainly was an added bonus.
‘It was a really good experience,’ added Teuten.
‘I had a fantastic weekend. Andy Butchart was sharing the room next door with Tom Lancashire. Andy is very outgoing and he brings something a bit different to the team in terms of personality. He is very relaxed and talked about what to expect come the race. He’s had so much success now.
‘I’m pleased Andy was able to bring something very good to the team in terms of his individual result. He got the medal he wanted on the cross.
‘Andy and Tom are both very experienced and good characters.
‘I was sharing with Ben Connor and we all spent quite a bit of time together.
‘It was a fantastic team bronze for us.’
In 2017 Teuten, who is doing a PhD, won the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sports) Cross Country title, finished in fourth place in the Great South Run and was second in the national cross country championships.
It was a year he’ll always look back on with great pride.
And making his second appearance for GB this month will start 2018 in style as he looks to achieve even more success.
Teuten said: ‘My targets for 2018 are GB vests at the World Half Marathon Championships and the European Cup 10,000m in May. That would complete my big target of securing a GB vest on every surface, like I did for England in 2017.
‘Then I’ll be hoping to revamp my track times, targeting 3min 40sec for 1,500m and 13min 20sec for 5k, as well as hopefully running a sub four minute mile.
‘Hopefully I can defend my BUCS XC title and go one better at the National XC. Later in the year I’d love to win the Great South in 2018 and get a top-10 place at the Euro XC.’