Conditions were certainly challenging on Sunday morning for the ESB Cross-Country Challenge organised by the Cork BHAA at Ballintemple.
However, fireman Alex O'Shea made light of the driving rain and slippery parkland to get his new year off to a good start when recording his first victory in a Cork BHAA event.
Sixth last year, O'Shea took the lead early on and finished 23 seconds clear of Trevor Woods from UCC, with Navy man Darren Molloy third, a further 22 seconds behind.
"It was tough and I knew Trevor was on my shoulder and I thought he was going to get me before the finish," said the winner, who has only been running seriously for two years.
This is going to be a year of challenges for 39-year-old O'Shea who hopes to break the world record for running a marathon in full fireman's regalia next June in Cork.
"I'll be running in full fire gear and will be raising money for the local playground in Ballineen and the guide dogs," said O'Shea.
"The record is 4:45.16 and I'm up to seven miles on a treadmill in full gear and running 16 miles once a week without the gear at the moment."
Michelle Kenny, just back training after taking a break following a successful early season of cross-country, won the women's race ahead of Maura Regan, with Ann-Marie Hayes in third.