Ribble Valley woman in world’s toughest mountain run

Ribble Valley athlete Victoria Wilkinson, who finished sixth in one of the world's toughest mountain races
Ribble Valley athlete Victoria Wilkinson, who finished sixth in one of the world's toughest mountain races
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A Ribble Valley athlete has finished sixth in her class in one of the world’s toughest and most iconic mountain races.

Last month saw the 40th anniversary of the Sierre Zinal Run in the Swiss Alps, the demanding 31k route starts in the valley at Sierre at only 500 metres altitude and climbs an amazing 2,200m to reach the small picturesque mountain village of Zinal.

Ribble Valley athlete Victoria Wilkinson, who finished sixth in one of the world's toughest mountain races

Ribble Valley athlete Victoria Wilkinson, who finished sixth in one of the world's toughest mountain races

The highest point of the race reaches a high altitude of 2,425m.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary there were many ex-winners and record holders in the field invited by the organisers, as well as quality athletes from the USA, Kenya, New Zealand, Columbia and across Europe. Among them and running the Sierre Zinal for the first time was Victoria Wilkinson, who works in Clitheroe as a sports masseur at Denise Park’s Physiotherapy Practice.

Her preparation was far from perfect, as she tore her ankle ligaments in the Buckden Pike race only two months earlier, spending some of that time on crutches and then on the rehabilitation road with the help of her physio Denise Park, her family and boyfriend Darren.

Despite her troubles, Victoria used her experience and paced the race well to finish an incredible sixth in the top class women’s field, in a very respectable time of three hours and 12 minutes, only one position and five minutes behind ex-winner Angela Mudge.

World long distance running champion Italian Elisa Desco won in two hours 58 minutes.

Denise Park had a busy month out in Europe, providing physio for the England team at the World Long Distance Championships and then also at the Sierre Zinal. As well as Victoria, she worked with other elite athletes, ensuring they got to the start line in the peak condition.