Rugby & Northampton AC athlete Ed Faulds took the European U20 Championships by storm winning double gold in the 400m and 4x400m relay as Great Britain topped the medal table in Estonia.
Ed, 18 - who is now the third fastest 400m runner of any age in the UK - started last month’s championships in Tallinn ranked fifth in Europe.
After finishing third in his heat he lined up for the semi-final with a difficult lane draw running blind in lane 8. But Ed cruised to victory in a huge new personal best of 45.95, taking over half a second off his previous record of 46.68.
As fastest qualifier, he was now the man to beat in the final. Ed picked off the field one by one before surging to the front with 50 metres to go. Digging deep, he ultimately stormed to an emphatic victory in another PB of 45.72.
A delighted Ed said afterwards: “Around 150m I was thinking ‘this is my medal; they are not taking this from me’. I was willing to give my absolute everything and I’m glad I did. I might be in pain now, but it was fully worth it.”
Two days later in the final of the 4x400m relay a very strong British quartet were the gold medal favourites.
Ed was handed the baton in first place and he anchored the team to victory, with a 44.97 relay split in the process.
Celebrating again he added: “I wouldn’t have been able to have done it without these boys. These boys are just incredible and I’m over the moon. Nobody should underestimate us!”
Ed’s achievement has been the result of many years of hard work and perseverance. Ed joined Rugby & Northampton AC at the age of nine and through his early years was always an important part of teams at various league matches for his willingness to try and gain points for the club - from pole vault to discus.
Bouncing back from disqualification in the 2019 English Schools Championship for the 400m hurdles aged 16, he won the England U20 Indoor 400m title in a new PB of 48.74 in February 2020.
Since then, Covid-19 has really limited Ed’s ability to train consistently. Last year saw a really small competition season and restricted access to the athletics track for training. This continued into 2021, with Ed forced to train at his local park and his own makeshift home gym as the track continued to be shut through to the end of March.
Even after lockdown was eased, the Rugby track went straight into a 12-week refurbishment.
This meant Ed had to travel up to 40 minutes to train in Northampton, often after a full day of work at his apprenticeship. All of this is testament to Ed’s character, showing incredible resilience to make the most of a difficult 18-months and come out of it having still achieved his goals.
The future looks bright for Ed and, with a home Commonwealth Games his target next year, he is already back in training.
The club are incredibly proud of what Ed has achieved and can’t wait to see how the rest of his journey unfolds.