The Irish Mountain Running Association commence their 2013 programme of activity on a visit to Millstreet on Sunday for the Clara Hill Run commencing at 7pm.
Duhallow AC are co-ordinating the programme over a picturesque route covering a 6.2 mile distance.
Defending champion is Tim O'Donoughue who yielded a surperb victory on displaying a powerful thrust to garner a thrilling win twelve months ago. In doing so, East Cork athlete fended off the brave challenge of Gneeveguilla's Ed Murphy and Mick Cunningham representing Bilboa.
Former International senior Martin Bradshaw of Bilboa yielded a previous surperb victory while Paul Tierney (Eagle) is another to enjoy success at the North Cork venue. Amongst the other strong contenders are Riocht's Willie Reidy and Eoin McKenna as is Tom Blackburn (Bilboa), John Lynch (St Finbarrs) and Donal Coffey from the local Millstreet AC club.
Regular visitor Ide O'Donovan (Mallow) took the senior ladies honours last season from Elaine O'Donoughue (Riverstick/ Kinsale) with Noreen Harvey (Mallow) filling third place
Sisters Michelle, Carol and Gayle Finn have enjoyed success as had e consistent Mary Louise Ryan (Bilboa) who took the outright honours in 2011.
Stiff competition can be expected from Majella O'Driscoll representing the Tralee Mountaineering Club, Theresa Tuohy (Nenagh), Sarah Hudson and Patrica Blackburn (Bilboa) while Loretto Duggan (St Marys), Maureen Foley (Bilboa) and Becky Hand (Doneen) hold a knowledge of the course.
Early season form can provide to the national championship series scheduled for Sliabh Donard, Mweelrea, Carrauntuohill, Lugnacoille and Galtymore.
In addition the European and World Championship trials will also be incorporated into the championship to determine representatives for the Bulgaria and Poland hostings with the equivalent Masters scheduled for the Czech Republic.
The World Trial will double as the All-Ireland Championships where the eventual winner must brave the best Northern Irish runners on their way to outright honours.