New Forest runner Valeria Sesto is among three local women competing in the elite section of the Great South Run tomorrow.

Along with Winchester’s Kath Bailey and Lynne Whittaker, she will be taking on some of the most elite runners on the planet.

Team GB marathon star Sonia Samuels, South African Olympian Rene Kalmer and Polish 5000m World Championship finalist Dominika Nowakowska are all involved. Sesto said: “The reality is, I love running but this year I am not at my optimum.

“I train a lot more than others but the fact is that I’m just the average woman with a family who I work to take care of.

“These more elite runners are far more equipped than any of us at local level.”

Sesto, originally from Argentina, will be New Forest’s only competitor in the elite race section. She has had a topsy-turvy year with several injuries, including a serious toe injury after running a 5k without any running shoes on in the Hampshire Challenge Cup.

This year the 40-year-old has run the Bournemouth Marathon, where she finished third, and was second in the New Forest half marathon. The Great South Run is a challenge she is looking forward to and will be attempting to beat her 61:11 best.

“I just love to run. I came over from Argentina 12 years ago and that’s when I took up running. I simply can’t wait to run, I just love it,” she enthused.

More Great South Run news in today's Daily Echo