TRAINING on the hilly and bushy terrain of Mount Victoria is one thing, but a competitive race on Australia's most iconic motor racing circuit is another. Lou Clifton, a native of the small Blue Mountains town, was in Bathurst on Sunday for her first ever Mount Panorama Punish. Her training on mountainous terrain would ultimately pay dividends, as Clifton survived a gruelling contest to be the first female home in this year's event. "I live in Mount Victoria so it's kind of a local event for me but I haven't made it before. It was fun," she said. "Because I run so many hills, I wasn't quite as freaked out by the hill but it was still hard. "To run at maximum effort uphill is always going to be hard, whatever your effort is." Clifton finished in a time of 25 minutes and 57 seconds, 23 seconds ahead of second place and Bathurst hopeful Renelle Donges (26:20). Clifton, who was running in the female 50-59 category, said pushing up Mount Panorama was hard. "The first few kilometres were really hard, because I always feel like how am I going to keep this pace up until the end," she said. "I was just focused on getting to the top of the hill. "I figured it was all downhill after that, but it was pretty hard pushing up that hill." Being unfamiliar with the other runners competing, Clifton said she was focused on just going at her own pace. "I could see there were some pretty fit, fast looking ladies at the front, probably a lot younger than me," she said. "So I just went my own pace and hoped that none of them would pass me. "I thought I'd be strong on the hills, but I thought I might get passed on the downhill because the knees are a little bit old now." Clifton has only been doing competitive running for eight years now. "I just started doing a few small races for fun and I was motivated by someone that I met who was a trail runner "I just got into it from there. "I used to rock climb and then sort of gave up rock climbing and started focusing on running." She said she's got a few races planned for next year, including a trip to Europe. Clifton's time is the second best time for a female winner, being only beaten by 2019 winner Stephanie Torley, who clocked in at a time of 24:38. Reading this on mobile web? Download our news app. It's faster, easier to read and we'll send you alerts for breaking news as it happens. Download in the Apple Store or Google Play.