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UK Top 5 For Young Runner

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Year 9 pupil Elena Bartalotta is currently fifth in the UK at the Under 15 Women’s 800m. This year, she gained second place in the Greater Manchester Schools 800m race and, in May, was ranked second in Great Britain.

Elena said: ‘When I found out that I was second in the UK, I felt very proud of myself. It boosted my confidence. Before the race I felt strong and I tried to stay positive. I now feel more determined to work harder to become first.’

Also in 2021, she has represented Bolton Town Athletics Team in the 800m at the Greater Manchester Schools’ Athletics Championships, where she earned a silver medal; and qualified to compete in the 800m at the English Schools athletics final, which was held in Manchester in early July.

She is now working hard with her coach to move even further up the national rankings, which change week on week. Elena trains five times a week and did not let the pandemic get in her way. She said: ‘During lockdown, I could no longer train at the track, so my coach sent us the sessions for the week. I continued to train locally on the loop line and in the woods. It was great to get back into competitions, as racing pushed me further and I enjoy being pushed by other athletes.’

Elena’s journey began five years ago when she joined Salford Harriers at eight years old. At her very first training session with the club, her mother was approached by one of the coaches who said that she was really talented and stood out from the rest. Several weeks later, Elena took part in her first Salford Schools Cross Country race at Buille Hill Park: she won the race and continued to gain first place at every cross country event she took part in whilst at St Mark’s Primary School. During this time, she also won the Manchester Mini Marathon and gained second place overall (including boys). In 2017, she won the greater Manchester Cross County Championships and the City of Manchester Junior 800m track race. 

After joining Bolton School Girls’ Division in 2018, Elena became the Year 7 Bolton Schools Cross Country champion. She went on to represent Bolton Town at the Greater Manchester Cross Country Championships, where she came fourth in the Year 7 race and earned a place in the national schools final. At the 2019 Bolton Town Athletics Championships, she was named Town Champion in the 800m and helped Bolton School win the Year 7 competition. Later in 2019, she came second in the Year 8 & 9 race at the Bolton School Cross Country Championships and again qualified for the Greater Manchester race.

Elena is currently fifth in Great Britain at the Under 15 Women’s 800m and is determined to rise even further in future.

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