He was close to exhaustion, he knew, almost too tired to know how much pain he was in. […] Swallowing down the taste of defeat, Alex folded the map and forced himself on. (5.3)
Alex's perseverance is put to the test at boot camp. Never in his life has he been so close to failing, and never has he worked so hard to keep it from happening.
He took part in an unarmed combat class and was knocked to the ground so often that it took all his nerve to persuade himself to get up again. (5.20)
There's an old expression—it's not whether you get knocked down, but whether you get back up again. Well, we're pretty sure it wasn't meant literally, but that's certainly the case here.
Alex thought he would never get to the end, but the second time he finished it in twenty-five minutes, which he had cut to seventeen minutes by the end of the week. (5.21)
It doesn't take long for Alex to start reaping the benefits to his dedication. This fourteen-year-old boy is now only a few minutes behind full grown men.
"I didn't think you'd make it," he said. Alex couldn't help but notice a certain warmth in the man's voice. And for the first time he hadn't called him Double O Nothing. (5.69)
Alex's perseverance earns him the respect of his peers, which is pretty surprising considering they all hated him just days earlier.
And suddenly Alex wanted to see this through to the end. Something was going on at Sayle Enterprises. He'd never forgive himself if he didn't find out what it was. (10.11)
Alex's dedication doesn't truly get tested until he reaches Sayle Enterprises. This isn't practice anymore—it's the real thing.
He forced himself to think. If you panic, you'll get lost. Think what you're doing. Be careful. One step at a time… (11.48)
By now, Alex knows a thing or two about beating so-called impossible odds. Step one? Keep calm.
But Ian Rider had swum through. Ian Rider had done it all, on his own, and he had never stopped. (11.59)
The memory of Ian's sacrifice inspires Alex to move on. Although this is rarely made explicit, as it is here, it's a strong undercurrent beneath the book's plot.
He felt his resolve give way to anger. These peopled […] had snuffed out his uncle's life simply because it had suited them. Well, he didn't die for nothing. Alex would see to that. (11.59)
Although it isn't always pretty, revenge is just about the best motivator on the planet.
Once again Ian Rider had been here ahead of him. He had cut through the bolts holding it in place. Alex set the grill down silently, glad that he had found the strength to go forward. (12.6)
Ian doesn't just metaphorically help Alex along—he literally does so. That being said, we bet Alex still would've figured out a way to keep going even if he hadn't.
Maybe he could explain why he was here before Sayle […] activated the Stormbreakers. But he doubted it. Shoot first and ask questions later was a line from a bad film. But even bad films are sometimes right. (16.36)
Now this takes some real courage. Alex is so dedicated to preventing a tragedy from befalling his country that he is willing to put his own life at risk.