THE race slotted into the busy calendar just before his final exam of the school year but Jacob O’Hara certainly put in an A-star performance to finish first in the Hayling Billy 5.
The winning time of 26min 52sec for the flat, trail five-mile course was a great effort, especially given it was very warm on Wednesday evening.
To finish first was also one better than last year for the talented City of Portsmouth under-17 racer.
He said: ‘I did feel a lot better than I thought.
‘This year I ran faster than last year so I’m surprised and happy because it was quite hot. Conditions played a bit of a part and I’ve been a bit stressed with exams.
‘The time was 26.52 so I was about seven seconds faster than last year.
‘It was a comfortable last two kilometres. I did the work just after halfway and got away so I just relaxed.
‘I was second last year so I wanted to try to win it this year.
‘Considering it is trail, it is a pretty fast course, it’s nice.
‘It was quite hot as the race got on because I was getting tired, it definitely sapped you a bit.’
The Victory club hosted the event and it was a spectacular success, having sold out nearly four weeks in advance.
Julian Manning finished second in 27.30 on Wednesday.
He led a strong contingent from Denmead Striders and took the prize for overall senior male winner.
Matthew Cheyney was third to finish and second male senior with his time of 28.47.
Lucy Mapp finished first lady as she put in a very strong performance in the warm conditions to record a time of 32.30.
Karen Andrews chased hard and she finished 10 seconds back in 32.40 with the heat just proving a bit too much for her challenge.
She said: ‘I was really impressed with the race, I thought the medal and prizes were great, especially when the entry fee was very reasonable.
‘I enjoyed it but wish I’d been able to push on for the first prize. As it was the heat had got to me and I faded in the last 400m.’
Despite crossing the line first O’Hara had to be content with the junior victory.
Tom Hoskinson also ran well to finish second junior.
It was a great evening for O’Hara, even without the overall prize as he enjoyed the chance to test his speed over five miles against the experienced Manning.
He added: ‘It was good to see Julian turn up and it made the race faster from the start.
‘Because I saw him at the start line I tried to go out quite hard to try to break him because he is good at holding on to a fast pace. He is a very strong runner.
‘I do enjoy this event and it was a good evening.’