Alex Teuten recorded a hugely-significant success in the Hampshire Cross Country League at Popham Airfield on Saturday.
The City of Portsmouth athlete surged clear of his main rival, Aldershot’s Joe Wade, in the closing stages to finish with a 24-second winning margin.
It was a major victory for Teuten, who has been competing in the league for nearly 13 years and had never previously crossed the line first, despite going close on several occasions.
It is believed the 22-year-old is City’s first senior male winner in the Hampshire Cross Country League for more than a decade.
Victory clearly meant a lot to Teuten, who finished second in the Gosport Half Marathon recently.
He said: ‘It’s a major milestone for me. I have been doing the Hampshire League for nearly 13 years and this is my first-ever win.
‘I’ve had lots of near misses. I’ve come second about nine different times and had several third or fourth places.
‘It meant a lot to me. These were the first runs I started doing, other than at school, and you always remember the events you started out in.’
Teuten saw off top-quality competition with clubs like Aldershot, Southampton and Basingstoke putting out strong teams and the likes of Reading also coming in from outside Hampshire to compete in the league.
Runner-up Wade has quality credentials. He recorded two wins out of two in Portsmouth in 2014, finishing first in the D-Day 10k and the opening race of the Lakeside 5k Series.
But Teuten kicked away after picking his moment to go clear.
‘I led from the second lap and once I had built up a lead I didn’t want to let him back in,’ said the City ace.
‘The final lap was three to four kilometres, so I had to keep the lead for quite a way.
‘I finally broke him coming up the last hill and then went for it on the descent.
‘I didn’t want to look around but when I eventually did I realised he wasn’t there and I had built up a comfortable lead.’
City chairman Phil Budd believes the win was good reward for Teuten putting in the hard yards in training.
He said: ‘We were trying to think back to the last one and it could be 10 years.
‘Tom Payn was probably the last one to win.
‘If anyone was going to do it since, it was going to be Alex.
‘He certainly deserves it, with all his efforts over the years.
‘The league is a superb standard, with lots of clubs from outside the county in it as well, and Aldershot sweeping up a lot of top runners from outside the area because they have the national endurance coach.’
City teenagers Thomas MacSwayne and Matt Smith also impressed in the senior race. MacSwayne finished 23rd and Smith was 27th.
Victory’s Zack Lahlal continued his impressive form as he secured 25th place.
Meanwhile, Victory dominated the latest Southern Cross Country League match on Sunday in Farnham.
Dan Bailey secured first place, with Lahlal fourth, Paul Mitchinson seventh and David Howard coming home 10th.