Some inspirational pre-race advice paved the way for Alex Teuten to earn a silver medal in the Home Countries International.
A chat over dinner with England team manager Eamonn Martin helped the City of Portsmouth athlete switch his approach to the race on Saturday as he led the national side to team victory.
Former Great Britain international Martin won the London Marathon in 1993 and he clearly knows how to impress on the big stage.
His words of wisdom ensured Teuten was not daunted by the reputations and past results of the classy athletes around him.
Instead the 24-year-old got straight on the front foot at the start of the race and ran strongly to finish as England’s number one behind race winner Andy Douglas, representing Scotland.
It was a fantastic end to the cross-country season.
Teuten ranks the result as his biggest achievement in athletics so far.
He said: ‘I was talking to Eamonn over dinner the day before the race and he felt I had a bit of a could, should, might mindset.
‘He was talking about changing that to “I will beat people”.
‘It was good advice. Just because people have had better results previously it doesn’t mean they will be better than you on the day.
‘The race is not run on paper, it would be pretty boring if it was.
‘They don’t give the medals out before the race.
‘I took that mentality and got myself in a really good position from the start and I was able to finish strongly as well.
‘It has to be my best achievement yet.
‘They don’t come around very often, it is a good feeling when you are running for your country.
‘I’m absolutely delighted, it was a total surprise.
‘My best position in the Home Countries has been seventh in the past so when I finished I was a bit stunned and delighted.
‘This has been a good season for me and to get an international medal is the cherry on top really. It was an amazing feeling.’
It was a dominant team display from England overall, taking second, third, fourth and sixth positions.
Teuten’s time of 31min 32sec for the tough 10k course was only five seconds behind Scotland’s Douglas.
It was a pressure race throughout with Alastair Watson in third just four seconds back.
Teuten added: ‘You can never really relax.
‘The course was very up and down and you could not really recover at any point.
‘I was the first England athlete from about 4k and it was a case of hanging on then.
‘If you are at the front you are a target so I always felt under pressure.
‘Andy Douglas was quite a way in front of me but the gap had closed to just five seconds at the finish.’
Teuten will head to Spain for some warm weather training before focusing next month on the British Universities & Colleges (BUCS) 10k race.