When Hannah Alderson wore her England vest for the first time last month, it was a sign that her hard work was starting to pay off.

The talented distance runner from Old Sodbury finished fourth on an impressive international debut in the under-20s Cross Country meeting in Elgoibar, Spain and was the third English runner home.

Alderson, 18, has a part-time job at Select in Yate and is in the first year of an Education Studies course at the University of West of England in Bristol, but still manages to train every day and was delighted to realise her long-time dream of representing her country.

She said: “It is what I have been working towards.

“I didn’t know what to expect because when you’re running in England you usually have a good idea of whose in the race but I didn’t know any of the Spanish or German runners so I was really shocked to come fourth and I really enjoyed it.

“It was a great atmosphere and all the local people came out to support it which was nice.

“I train every day and I’ve been racing quite a lot lately.

“It can be quite tiring after a day at Uni but it is definitely worth it and I’m balancing it alright.”

Alderson, a Bristol & West AC athlete, did not expect to be called up for England after finishing 14th at the European Trials in Liverpool last year, but she impressed selectors with her attitude and the way she coped with the experience.

Alderson said: “They phoned a few weeks later asking me to represent England.

“I was quite shocked because I assumed only people in the top ten would be selected.”

Having been coached by Keith Brackstone in recent months, Alderson feels her endurance has improved and she is looking forward to the track season, where she runs the 1500m and 3000m.

Firstly, though, she is eyeing a top ten finish at the Inter Counties Championships in Birmingham on Saturday, March 5, where the top six are selected for the Great Britain team.

“People close to that might get selected so it is another good opportunity to do well.

“I’m really looking forward to the track season. I prefer it on the track and my endurance has improved since I’ve been coached by Keith Brackstone.

“Hopefully that will help when it comes to the track and I will be looking to get some PBs.”

Alderson also revealed what is was like to meet one of her role models, double Olympic champion Kelly Holmes, when she attended a mentoring day at the end of last year, and hopes to go back again.

“That was brilliant,” said Alderson. “She gave us advice about endurance, drug testing, circuits and inspired us.

“She can do it all with such ease, she looks as though she could still run 1500 metres really fast.

“She was really friendly and encouraging. Hopefully she can do more days like that because I would like to go again.”