ALEX TEUTEN is targeting his first Great Britain vest after finishing second in the English Cross Country Championships in Nottingham.
The former City of Portsmouth athlete moved up another level on the big stage.
He survived a scare when he fell 400m from the finish but recovered quickly to avoid losing his second position.
Derby’s Ben Connor took the victory with a time of 39min 35sec with Teuten second in 39.49.
Leicester athlete Sam Stabler finished third in 39.59 as 1,762 runners completed the 12k at Wollaton Park.
Connor pushed the pace early on and broke clear of a strong leading group including Teuten, Aldershot’s Jonny Hay, Stabler, Sale Harriers runner Charlie Hulson, Stockport’s Jack Martin, Cheltenham’s Graham Rush and Morpeth’s Jonathan Taylor.
With the leader clear, it was a tough battle for second place.
Rush led the chase until Teuten overtook him and built up enough of an advantage to seal his silver medal.
The impressive result ranks as the best career achievement so far for the 25 year old, from Portsmouth.
Teuten said: ‘This is easily my greatest result in the sport, but having come so close I think I will be disappointed if I don’t finish my career with the national title now.
‘It’s something to aim towards in the coming years though, among my other objectives.
‘Conditions for the race were tough, really muddy, and I was lucky to have had a sizeable advantage on the third-place runner as with 400m to go I had a heavy fall.
‘However, I was able to pick myself up and make it to the line without losing much time, but I had my heart in my mouth at that point.’
It continues his superb start to 2017, having already won the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Cross Country title this year and picked up two bronze medals for England on the road in Bermuda.
Beating the likes of Rush, who crossed the line fifth, and Taylor, who was eighth, has given Teuten great belief and confidence.
He turned the tables on both athletes who had beaten him on international duty for England in December.
‘The result came as a huge surprise for me,’ added Teuten.
‘It shows how far I’ve come in just two months after I was beaten so convincingly by GB internationals Graham Rush and Jonny Taylor in Belgium in December.
‘To have recorded wins against those two indicates I’ve finally made that transition from England standard to Great Britain standard and I hope now I can sustain it and pick up my first GB vest.’
Next for Teuten is the Cross-Country Inter-Counties Championships and world trials at Prestwold Hall, in Loughborough today.