JUST under a year ago the Great Britain dream was cruelly dashed for Alex Teuten.
Now he’s fought back with resolve and determination to run the race of his life and achieve something he thought many times might just elude him.
Second place at the British Athletics Cross Challenge and Euro trials in Liverpool, among a field containing nearly all the major players in British distance running has ensured the pain of nine months ago has been banished.
Ben Connor won the race in 30min 18sec, with Teuten, from Southsea, so close in pursuit as he finished a superb second in 30.20.
He left big names like Andy Butchart, a World Championship finalist on the track, and 2hr 09min marathon runner Dewi Griffiths behind as they finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Crucially, though, for the 25 year old former City of Portsmouth athlete, who now represents Southampton, he had finished in the top four.
This cemented a place on the GB team for the European Championships in Slovakia on Sunday, December 10.
He said: ‘It was a very special race, it was the race of my life, I think, really.
‘The nature of who I was up against and some of the people I managed to beat was really, really surprising.
‘But it’s more that there was a sense of expectation almost on it.
‘Having been so close nine months ago with the world selection and them not sending a team to that, this was the next opportunity.
‘I was determined I was going to try to make it count but I was surprised how well it did come off on the day.
‘Liverpool has been summed up quite well as the jewel in the crown of cross country racing in Britain.
‘It’s a huge race. It is almost more prestigious now than the national cross because of the trial. It makes it so significant for cross country athletes.
‘Representing Great Britain is something I’ve dreamed of.
‘I’ve kept working to improve and it has finally become possible for me.’
Teuten was absolutely determined he wasn’t going to let the front runners get away from him in the early stages.
His bravery paid off as he got stronger and stronger.
National champion Connor did open up a little gap but he had to work all the way to the finish as Teuten powered away from the rest and had a six-second margin on Sam Stabler who was third.
‘I went with the front group, no matter what I wasn’t going to sit off them and wait for them to fall back because they are not going to at this level,’ added Teuten.
‘These guys are some of the best athletes in the country right now and the only way you can beat them is by taking them on head on.
‘I stuck with them and as the race progressed I got stronger and stronger. You’ve got the likes of Andy and Dewi who are genuinely world class.
‘They have got serious pedigree and class and I’m going toe to toe with them and actually beating them on the day.’
The race in Slovakia will be televised live on the BBC.