PATRICK Mochan has revealed how a spell of training at high altitude in the French Pyrenees helped him win his first national medal at the weekend.

The 15-year-old Swindon Harrier spent almost three weeks at the internationally renowned training camp at Font Romeu before returning to Swindon and then heading immediately north to Grangemouth for the Scotland Under Championships.

All those miles paid off handsomely as Mochan won a silver medal in the 1500m steeplechase while also improving his personal best for the fourth time this summer with a time of 4mins 38.65secs.

“I was hoping to get a medal and the plan was to go off hard and try and run away from the field,” said Mochan, who was born and bred in Swindon but whose parents are Scottish.

“But Callum Little (from Falkirk) hung on to me and in the last 10 metres sprinted by me to win by just under a second. He also smashed his PB by 10 seconds.

“Initially I felt a bit disappointed at losing so narrowly, but on reflection to come away with my first medal from a national championships was very pleasing and hopefully I can win more medals in the future.”

To notch up another PB in a new event for Mochan this summer was a tremendous achievement and to underline his progress, he has now gone from clocking 5mins 02.46secs on his debut in May to sixth place in the South West Rankings and 20th in the UK.

Clearly the spell in the Pyrenees and a change from his normal routine helped.

“I went to Font Romeu with my Swindon team-mates and training partners Ben McIntyre, Dan Patel and Max Sockett and it was a mixture of a kind of holiday and training camp,” added Mochan.

“Initially I was a bit nervous about training at altitude for the first time (Font Romeu lies at 1,850 metres above sea level) but once I got used to it everything was okay and we did some really good training.

“I did a lot more training than normal and was living like a professional”

Mochan and his Harriers pals also mixed with the elite of British running as top internationals Andrew Butchart – sixth in the 5000m at the Rio Olympics in 2016 – and current GB top steeplechaser Zak Seddon – fifth at the European Championships last year – were also training at the camp.

“They were really nice guys and while we are very much at the grass roots end of the sport and they are top internationals they were happy to help us and give us some tips,” said Mochan.

“Zak Seddon gave me and Ben some advice on hurdling technique and we even joined in parts of their training sessions – although they were a lot faster than us.”

That is an experience that all the Harriers’ runners will remember for a long time and will, hopefully, inspire them in the years ahead. For the immediate future, Mochan and his coach Kevin Buttle have lined up one final race over 1500m at a British Milers Club in Exeter next Tuesday.

“It will be my first flat 1500m of the summer because I started my season late due to illness and went straight into the steeplechase,” said Mochan.

“But that will be the end of my track season and then I’ll start my preparations for cross country.”