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Ireland 27 March: Westport - Galway
Bright and early this morning four members of our running team began climbing Croagh Patrick, which has been one of the main places of pilgrimage in Ireland for hundreds of years. Saint Patrick, our patron saint, reputedly fasted on the summit of Croagh Patrick for forty days in the fifth century and built a church there. At the end of his fast, he threw a silver bell down the side of the mountain, banishing all the snakes from Ireland.
With the torch in hand, our intrepid climbers Purnendu, Aivaras, Sundar and Baridhi (taking the picture) made their way to the top.
The top of the mountain was shrouded by mist.
This is the shrine at the top of the mountain.
On their way up they met with some students who, along with their teachers were delighted to hold the torch and find out more about the Run.
Meanwhile, the rest of the team began their day with a visit to Quay National School in Westport.
The children were full of excitement as we entered. As you can see, they were listening to us quite attentively!
Here's the school band; we really enjoyed listening to them.
Then we headed outside for the bit we most enjoy - a few laps of the playground with the torch!
When it came to holding the torch, we made sure the teachers were not left out :)
Principal John Meaney holds the torch joined by Svetlana and Gary.
This us Shyamala's last day on the run before she heads back to working in the Run and Become running shop in Edinburgh. We were very glad to have Shyamala and her sister Dhavala with us for a few days on the run. Coincidentally, tomorrow we'll get to meet up with their father Tarit, a former member of the UK ultrarunning team who is participating in the Celtic 100k race in Galway tomorrow!
At Scoile Padraig all the children had gathered in the school hall.
The torch was passed from hand to hand so that each student had an opportunity to hold it.
These two young ladies played the World Harmony Run song on their recorders.
All the children cheered while Principal O'Morain ran around the hall with the torch. Mr O'Morain then invited those students who had birthdays to come and hold the torch - they got to run a lap of the classroom too!
Then our day of running began in earnest, as we made some headway on quiet country roads on the way to Galway.
Just outside the small village of Toormakeady we paid a visit to Scoile A Tsidhean where a small group of children had prepared some fantastic art work for our team. After everyone had held the torch they raced around the school - we'll have more photos of our visit uploaded here soon!.
Running onwards the countryside was spectacular, with valleys filled with glistening lakes. The roads climbed steeply and meandered around the hills and mountains.
Our final school of the day was Scoil Naomh Iosaf in the beautiful little town of Cong.
The children sang a beautiful rendition of 'Ireland's Call' - this was composed for our rugby team, as a song the whole of Ireland could come together to sing.
The children then joined our international team for a run around the play ground.
A friendly passer by, stopping to hold the torch and share his encouragement.
Our Galway host and good friend Richie, holds the torch with Aivaras from Lithuania.
We are very grateful to Snoozles Youth Hostel for hosting the men's team....
...and Barnacles Youth Hostel for hosting the women's team - they have a little piece about us on their website. Thank you!
Distance: 105 km
Adhiratha Keefe (USA), Boijayanti Gomez-Badillo (Puerto Rico), Kallola Brown (New Zealand), Rupashri Brown (New Zealand), Salil Wilson (Australia), Gary Foran (Ireland), Shyamala Stott (Scotland), Purnendu Knezevic (Serbia), Colm Magee (Ireland), Sundar Dalton (Ireland), Katka Purusova (Czech Republic), Svetlana Gorschkova (Russia), Baridhi Yonchev (Bulgaria), Aivaras Zydelis (Lithuania), Standa Zubaty (Czech Republic), Matthias Eckerle (Germany)
Gallery: See more images!
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