Alex Teuten showed he is continuing to progress well with a brilliant fifth place finish in the senior men’s race at the UK Inter-Counties Championships.
The City of Portsmouth athlete made great strides to improve on his 15th-place finish in the English nationals.
He relished the challenge of a tough hilly 12k cross-country course in Birmingham among the top athletes in the United Kingdom.
His time was 38min 43sec, with Welsh athlete Dewi Griffiths taking the victory in 37.13.
Southend’s Adam Hickey finished second in 37.18.
And Morpeth’s Jonathan Taylor crossed the line third (37.50) with Sam Stabler, of Owls Leicester, fourth (38.31).
Teuten, 24, stormed through the field in the latter stages to record one of his most cherished results to date.
He said: ‘This was one of those rare races where everything falls into place.
‘Even though I give 100 per cent in all my races, mostly they don’t always go as you want them to.
‘This was one of those one-in-a-thousand races where everything goes perfectly.
‘The result was a lot better than I could possibly have imagined.
‘It is a high-standard national competition, so I was hoping for top 10.
‘To finish so close to the medals could be a bit frustrating in some ways but I’m really pleased with my race.’
Only 30 seconds separated positions fourth to ninth and with all the athletes so closely matched it is a tough battle to gain places.
A total of 261 athletes completed the race and Teuten was Hampshire’s top scorer as they finished 12th out of 27 teams.
He added: ‘They had changed the course since I last ran it and you had to go up the big hill three times.
‘It helped the stronger athletes because it is quite intense on the hill.
‘I started off cautiously and midway into the second lap I overtook about four or five people on the downhill.
‘That gave me confidence and set me up for the rest of the race.
‘You don’t pick up places easily. It’s no good putting quick spurts in, you have to increase the pace over a sustained period.
‘I got it just right this time and I’m delighted.’
Teuten will run for England in the Home Countries International Cross Country in Falkirk on Saturday.
Don’t miss The News on Friday for the race preview.