THE ESB Cross-Country Challenge, the only non-road event on the Cork BHAA (Business Houses Athletic Association) calendar, got the year off to a good start with a turnout of almost 200 runners to the traditional venue at Beaumont Park.
Conditions were real cross-country with sticky going underfoot and a heavy shower just as the race commenced made it a true test over the three laps that made up the 5km distance.
Barry Twohig, second last year, made no mistake on this occasion as he took control from the start to cross the line with a half-minute to spare over Naoise O’Flaitheartaigh, 18:31 to 18:51.
As Bandon native O’Flaitheartaigh wasn’t registered, second prize went to Declan Coakley (Gilead Sciences). The Leevale man continued his hectic racing schedule which saw him finish fifth in a 10km in Spain just two days before.
For winner Twohig – who was representing Emerald Fencing – the conditions proved no obstacle, as he thrives in tough conditions. “The hills suit me, so I was delighted with the course,” said the Blarney native.
A member of the St Finbarr’s club, he had won the Munster Intermediate championship in similar conditions at Clarecastle two weeks before Christmas. He also took the silver medal behind club colleague John Meade in the M40 category at the Cork Masters.
“I’ve had a good season in cross-country as I’m only running with a few years,” added the 43-year-old who before that was a top-class cyclist with his local Blarney club.
Michelle Kenny (Dept of Education), first in the women’s race, is another having a fine season over the country and road with Leevale and she came home a clear winner from Anna Hogan (UCC) with Ella Collins taking third spot.
It’s back to the road for the remainder of the year for the BHAA, the next two events both scheduled for Little Island on January 22 (IFF-Dupont 5km) and February 12 (Janssen Pharmaceuticals 6km). Both start at 11am and full details can be got on the www.corkbhaa.com website.
1 B Twohig (Emerald Fencing, M40) 18:31; 2 N O’Flaitheartaigh (temp-reg) 18:51; 3 D Coakley (Gilead Sciences) 19:23; 4 A Maher (temp-reg) 19:26; 5 T Cummins (Train with Trevor, M40) 19:38; 6 R O’Connell (Ørsted, M40) 19:48.
Team: (Grade A) 1 Navy 232; 2 Ørsted 244; 3 Apple 382. (Grade B) 1 Navy 53; 2 MTU 59; 3 UCC 179. (Grade C) Apple 132; 2 Musgrave 157; 3 Army 169.
1 M Kenny (Dept of Educ, F40) 21:01; 2 A Hogan (UCC, F45) 22:14; 3 E Collins (Collins) 22:44; 4 L O’Connor (Musgrave, F45) 23:13; 5 S Whelan (temp-reg) 24:37; 6 N Sheehan (Complete Financial) 25:20.
Team: (Grade A) UCC 96; 2 Dept of Education 115. (Grade B) 1 Musgrave 202; 2 Fit4Life 232. (Grade C) 1 Complete Financial 209; 2 Avondhu MF 303.