DESPITE the start of daylight saving, more than 400 athletes — and a 1500-strong crowd — braved the morning brr for The Hills News Hills M2 Run on Sunday.
The weather didn’t disappoint.
The new annual charity run — which raises money for Reach for the Rainbow to change the lives of babies and pre-schoolers through early intervention — attracted professional athletes, as well as hobby runners, who had come to run the 8km course through the rolling landscaped hills of the historic Heritage Park.
“I am ecstatic about the response we received to the very first Run for the Hills Fun-Run and Family Festival,’’ charity founder and chair of Run for the Hills, Yvonne Keane, said.
‘‘We have raised over $30,000 to benefit children with disabilities and delays and have had overwhelmingly glowing feedback from all concerned.
‘‘To the fabulous entrants who took on a gruelling course, our incredible sponsors who made the event possible, the families who came out for the day and our extraordinary team of over 80 volunteers, I would like to say ‘thank you’.’’
Sydney University’s former world junior cross country representative Hugh Williams was the fastest runner on the day, with 25.29minutes, well within the 40 minute requirement for the ‘‘competitive’’ runners.
‘‘I’m more a hill runner than anything; it’s a hilly course, so I thought I would give it a nudge,’’ said Williams, 20, who trains with coach Sean Williams at the Randwick-Botany Harriers club, along with Morgan McDonald — the first junior boy across the line on Sunday.
Williams was among many athletes who described the footpath in Heritage Park as ‘‘heartbreak hill’’.
‘‘The knoll hill... come on,’’ is how Milly Clark, the female winner, referred to it.
Run for the Hills ambassador Laura Dundovic, 26, of Dural, experienced the City2Surf’s Heartbreak Hill first-hand this year.
It’s a 2km-long winding ascent starting about six kilometres into the race, which burns.
‘‘I did about five-minute kilometres [in the City2Surf], which I did today,’’ said Ms Dundovic, who was crowned Miss Universe Australia in May 2008.
Fellow Run for the Hills ambassador, TV and radio personality James Kerley joked that no one could accuse the organisers of false advertising.
‘‘The hills were to be expected’’ given the location of the event, he observed drily.
Both ambassadors thanked the crowds who lined up on the street to egg the runners on.
■Male winner ($1000 cash prize, plus $200 Mizuno gift certificate and commemorative trophy): Hugh Williams, 20, of Newtown, ran 25.49minutes;
■Female winner ($1000 cash prize, plus $200 Mizuno gift certificate and commemorative trophy): Milly Clark, 23, of Abbotsford, ran 29.10minutes;
■Junior boy winner, 16 and under ($500 cash prize, plus $200 Mizuno gift certificate and commemorative trophy): Morgan McDonald, 16, of Randwick, ran 26.49minutes;
■Junior girl winner, 16 and under ($500 cash prize, plus $200 Mizuno gift certificate and commemorative trophy): Julia Laman, 16, of Kentlyn, ran 33.43minutes;
■Best costume: Ryan ‘‘Superman’’ Besso, 27, of West Pennant Hills, who ran the course dressed in cape and tights, won a $250 gold coin from Robert Cliff Jewellers;
■Highest individual fundraiser: Ryan Besso raised $1330 to win a Hugos Lounge private cocktail party for 50.
DID YOU KNOW?
417 people entered The Hills News Hills M2 Run for the Hills charity run
59 entered as competitive runners
$30,000 was raised for local children's charity Reach for the Rainbow