KIRKBY Stephen mountain runner Sarah Tunstall finished second in an Alpine classic mountain race.

The Kendal AC athlete was competing in the Zermatt Marathon in Switzerland on Saturday which has the highest altitude finish line in Europe.

It starts in the village of St. Niklaus, situated in the lowest-lying mountain valley in Switzerland, and ends at Riffelberg on the Gornergrat mountain.

For the first 20 kilometres the race follows the valley floor to Zermatt along the west bank of the Vispa river before climbing to Sunnegga and then on to Riffelalp with the final section being extremely steep.

Sarah finished the course in three hours and 44 minutes and was just seven minutes adrift of Italian Ivana Corri, who won the race last year.

"It was my first marathon but I have always loved running around Zermatt and I hoped that would help!" said Sarah. "My main goal was to get to half way in Zermatt feeling OK.

"The distance was a bit daunting and the second half climbs about 1,000 metres so I knew if I pushed too hard in the first half it would become a suffer fest!

"I was really happy with how I paced the race and until the final, steep three kilometres I was still feeling OK. The finish at Riffeberg at 2700m above sea level is a spectacular one."

Sarah prepared for the race by competing in a half marathon near the Aletsch glacier in Switzerland, where she celebrated a third win.