ON a cold miserable night not conducive to sport, East Cork AC's Tim O'Donoghue produced an aggressive display to better the elements to emerge a highly impressive winner to the Clara Hill Run in Millstreet last Sunday evening.
In doing so, O'Donoghue put together a very complete performance, dominating on the upward trek that proved good enough to ward off the challenge of a representative field.
The Midleton native returned to retain his title over the demanding North Cork course, delivering an impressive showing that's sure to boost his confidence ahead of upcoming tests.
The Irish Mountain Running Association opened their 2013 Munster programme of activity on a highly successful visit to Millstreet for the popular staging under the co-ordination of Duhallow AC over a picturesque route covering a 6.2 mile distance.
Resilient athletes made light of the difficult conditions on a damp occasion yet the occasion brought athletes out in force from throughout the province and beyond. The staging offered indications of inform athletes looking ahead to representing Ireland in the Bulgaria staging to the European Championship in July and the World Championship in Poland later in the summer.
O'Donoghue joined by Bilboa pair Tom Blackburn and Mike Cunningham along with Millstreet AC's Brian Murphy led the upward march but by the 352m summit, O'Donoghue had upped a gear to pull away by a decisive margin.
On the downward circuit, O'Donoghue emphasized his dominance to take the tape at the finishing line in a fast time of 29 minutes 28 seconds, more than three minute ahead of Blackburn and Cunningham respectively.
"The course was pretty tough though it was excellently marked and marshaled. It was close for a spell but I took a grip and built a nice lead. On the descend, it was difficult in the slippery conditions but I'm just delighted to come and take victory", said O'Donoghue.
The victor is very much in form and is looking forward to similar events over the coming weeks.
"I have had enjoyed good form in road running and I'm keen to take on the All Ireland series and the challenge of the four main hill runs in each of the provinces", he said.
Regular visitor Carol Finn (Leevale), a native of Kanturk, took the senior ladies honours from Linda O'Mahony from Kenmare with Trish Blackburn(Bilboa) filling third place.
At the presentation of prizes in Millstreet GAA Community Hall, Duhallow AC co-ordinator Donie Shine and Robbie Williams of the Munster Hill Running Association applauded the participation of entries and spoke of the growing interest within the sport.