Patrick Hayes -17th in Ireland and UK

Last Saturday 20th September, I competed in the 2014 British and Irish U20 Championships  in Glendalough Co. Wicklow. The mountain race started at 11.00am and consisted of 21 runners, five teams of four from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland and myself as an independent runner. It was 6.6 kilometers with steep hills and difficult descents.
My father and I drove up the day of the race with careful attention to the sign posts on the way as its very easy to get lost out in the wicklow mountains. Once in Glendalough, it was easy to find the start as there were many spectators about. I got my number and managed to walk the course just before my race got underway. it was an overcast day but luckily the rain held off during the race.
I finished 17th overall, not bad considering it was U20 and my first proper hill race. It was the first international event I’ve competed in and was a real eye-opener to the world of international mountain running and the standard that I’m confident I will reach. I ran against more than worthy opponents and learned a lot from racing with these superb athletes.
 My goal is to compete at the Irish trials next year and after the race on Saturday and seeing the Irish team run, I’m even more determined to succeed at distance running. I’m very grateful to Mike Quinlan for bringing this race to my attention and Gerry Brady (IMRA) for allowing me to race at such short notice.
Thanks to all,
Patrick Hayes