Born partially sighted and by her own admission “not particularly good at sport,” Charlotte Ellis could hardly imagine growing up to win international sporting honours.
But as a student at York University she took up running and hasn’t looked back since.
Charlotte, 35, who lives in Redcar and is a member of New Marske Harriers, has represented Great Britain with distinction winning a string of medals at various paratriathlon championships.
She also represented her country at this year’s IPC World Para Athletics Marathon Championships, finishing a highly creditable seventh.
Charlotte will be back at her alma mater on Sunday 20th October with her guide, Jason Rippingale, for the Asda Foundation Yorkshire Marathon.
She said: “I started running with one of my house mates and found more guides while I was at university, completing races up to half marathon. I continued running after uni because I love it.
“In 2008 I was part of a group of visually impaired people who all completed the London Triathlon for charity and to raise the profile of visually impaired people doing sport. I never dreamed what this was going to lead to.
“I was asked a few months later if I would like to join the Great Britain disability triathlon team. In 2010 I went to my first European Paratriathlon Championships where we won gold. We then took silver at the World Paraduathlon Championships and gold at the World Paratriathlon Championships later that year.”
The World and European Paratriathlon golds were replicated in 2011 and there was more medal success over the following two years.
Charlotte said: “I made the difficult decision at the end of 2013 to retire from paratriathlon and focus on my running. However, a non-running accident in 2014 caused a serious injury. In 2015 I ran my first marathon but injuries and circumstances limited my performance until my breakthrough at the Manchester Marathon in 2018.
“This led to me being selected to represent Great Britain at the IPC World Para Athletics Marathon Championships in 2019, which were held at the London Marathon. This was a dream for me. I finished 7th with a pb, but cramp at 23 miles had slowed me down when I was battling for 6th.
“I am excited to keep trying to improve, aiming to represent Great Britain again and hopefully compete for medals in the future.”
Keith Morris, Head of Sport at the University of York said: “Charlotte's story is hugely inspiring and humbling. It demonstrates the hugely positive impacts of engagement in sport throughout her life and the fact that sports clubs and friendships formed while at the Uni of York is something we are proud to have played a part in. However, her achievements and recognition for them are all hers and we look forward to welcoming her back on campus for this year’s Yorkshire Marathon.”