On the 31st of May in conjunction with Meitheal Mara, 8 young people on the YAP Ireland programme in Cork competed in the annual International Ocean to City race. The group of young people received all the necessary training to compete at this level, this included 8 weeks of expert training and information on safety requirements. The YAP group were competing against other youth services and a number of locally based schools. However, more importantly they were doing this for themselves and their families. 

The starting point was at the picturesque Blackrock Castle at the mouth of the river Lee, where over 200 people including their families, friends, staff and the media made sure that all of the young people got a good send off. There was music and a great energy at the start of the race. The youth race route took the teams up the river Lee and under a number of bridges. The finish was at the Clarion hotel boardwalk – a total of over 2.5 miles from the start to the finish line, where over 3,000 people including staff, family and friends were gathered to welcome home the teams including the four YAP crews in a carnival atmosphere. 

According to one member as she crossed the finishing line she could not believe that so many people would be cheering her on stating.

“I feel like I am in the Olympics and so special”.

Another young person was so excited at the end of the race as his parent’s grandparents and extended family came out to mark his amazing achievement, he said that

“I know I did not win but I  feel like I have won. What a day, what a day this could only happen in Cork”.

On behalf of all the staff, we would like to pay tribute to all of the young people who took part in this event, they showed great determination and commitment to compete and finish this race.

Martin Ryan, Service Manager