17 Sep 2020
Engineering and Athletics: Alex Haydock-Wilson
Alex Haydock-Wilson is a Materials Science and Engineering student at Loughborough, but he’s also a very talented sprinter, recently winning a bronze medal in the 400m at the British indoor senior championships in Birmingham. We caught up with Alex to get an insight into student-athlete life and his story so far, including his exciting project with Lord Sebastian Coe.
"I started doing track when I was 15 at my local club in Eton. In 2016, I made my GB junior debut after coming 2nd at the England Championships. Then, in 2018 I was part of the relay team that took bronze at the World U20 championships, and in 2019 I came 3rd in the British Indoor Championships, which gained me selection for the European Indoor Championships - my first GB senior call-up - and World Relays in Yokohama, Japan.
That summer at the European U23 Championships, our relay team won silver and I won bronze. Earlier in 2020 I won gold and silver at the BUCS Indoor Championships in the 400m and 4x200m relay respectively.
Earlier this year, Lexus UK released a new film, The Power of Two, in Alex meets Lord Sebastian Coe, revealing what happens when experience meets the promise of a new athletics generation. The 12-minute film shows their first meeting at Alex's home track and a drive they shared in a Lexus RX F Sport. The film shows their conversation, capturing a moment between two different sporting generations, and covering a variety of topics.
"I was involved in an advertising campaign for Lexus, in which I spoke with University Chancellor and Head of World Athletics, Seb Coe. This experience gave me a real sense of direction. Sadly, it was shortly to be followed by COVID and my training was briefly derailed. I stayed in Loughborough to train and largely enjoyed using the open space that the Loughborough campus offers. When the lockdown was lifted I started competing fresh out of lockdown.
It was very different preparation to what I was used to, but I was surprised to get a personal best of 46.45 in my second race of the season. Sadly the rest of the season didn't follow suit, and at the British Championships, after winning my heat comfortably and going in as a favourite to get a medal, I took out fast hoping to secure a new Personal Best. Unfortunately, my legs weren't with the agenda and I lost my lead in the last 50m, dropping from 1st place to 8th. It was disappointing, but I take comfort in knowing I pushed my physical limit and dared to do something that hadn't been done. Had I played it safe I would've had a better chance of winning, (the time I ran in my heat would've earned me a silver medal), but ultimately my goal is on next year, and I see that particular race as good preparation for when I'll be aiming to run under 46 seconds to make the Olympic relay team. At the moment I'm a little anxious and uncertain. The sport is cutthroat and nothing is guaranteed, but for that same reason I'm excited and looking forward to giving it another go next year!"
The Department of Materials and all of the staff offer their congratulations to Alex for how well he has done this year under such difficult circumstances and we look forward to supporting him during the next athletics season. In the meantime, Alex is now aiming at promoting engineering to young people from diverse backgrounds.