We asked some of last year’s participants of Quest 12/24 to tell us what the key things they learned from their first experience of it were. Here, Kieran O’Byrne shares his take on Quest 12 for us – remember everyone is different and this is what Kieran learned!

1.You’re not a greyhound

It’s one of the biggest, most physically and mentally challenging things you’re going to do in your life but don’t think that it’s the Olympics 100 meter race. Adrenaline is going to pump and you’re going to be feeling high on life so you’re going to be more inclined to take off at speed on the bike stage 1.

DO NOT make the same mistake I did whereby you get this sense of “Oh lord, it’s gonna be a long day” after 20 km cycling. Give your body a chance to warm up at 6.30am by beginning slowly and allowing blood to start flowing and your heart rate to elevate, you’ll shoot yourself in the foot with a shotgun if you take off like a bat out of hell on the stage 1 cycle

2. Get your nutrition and hydration on point

Pre-hydrate with electrolytes in your water the day before, not just on the day.

Carb load the daylights out of your diet the day before to ensure you’ve enough energy to help you through every aspect on the day since you’re going to be tested to your limits so you’ll need as much energy as possible. Fortunately, I had a nutritionist to help me get everything spot on for race day and the biggest take away was “a pound of prevention is better than a stone of the cure” regarding depletion on race day (nothing worse than a bonk on stage 3). For long endurance events just make sure you’re eating everything in the pasta aisle 24 hours before the race.

3. Force-feed yourself for the next stage

I really struggled with this concept, badly! Especially on stage 3 after the glorious high climbs before descending towards Waterville.

You’re never fuelling for what you’re enduring, you’re fuelling for what lies ahead of you so remember that even though you might be feeling “not hungry” you’re always going to need to force feed yourself throughout the day or the NEXT event that’s around the corner

4. Use everything you have

You have 3 transition boxes, use each of them wisely and if you have them make sure you use the 2 pairs of trail shoes you have!

I had 1 pair of cycling shoes and trail shoes last year and it definitely cost me a lot more time than I thought have to change, clip the shoes back onto my bag when cycling, changing out again for each stage wasn’t truly worth it for the time it cost.

For every thing that you have, don’t scrimp on the things you can use and put in the transition boxes.

5. Don’t wait too long 

Instead of waiting to get hungry, I learned from my mistakes to have a little bit of food very often. Avoid indigestion, the upset stomach is a real thing when you force too much into it…when you’ve to use the loo at the base of the mountain you’ll make sure to question your act of “it’s T1, I’ll eat all my food now”. Your stomach is constantly churning so feed it little and often, not too much in one go.

6. Don’t overfill your water bladder if you’re wearing a backpack, use the boxes to your advantage

It’s great to have the bladder, 100% convenience but it’s adding extra weight in a lot of cases when it’s actually unnecessary. I filled mine to the top last year and was close to 3 litres, not realizing I was only adding extra weight to carry on the bike and the run up Carrauntoohil, which I suffered with recovering afterwards  🤦🏼‍♂️.

Quest 12/24 takes place on Saturday 31st August and is sold-out. Quest 12/24 will return in 2021.