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Winter Sun Training Camp – Portugal 2019

On the first Saturday of the October half term, 15 young Hillingdon athletes alongside 3 coaches crowded Luton Airport, eager to embark on what would become an amazing holiday experience. With a first-time flyer and a few nervous to be on a plane, the flight was an interesting one, though the excitement of everyone when we arrived in Faro, Portugal soon diminished any anxieties, reports Courtney Clarke.

The hotel beat any of our expectations as soon as we walked in, the main reception was elegant and rooms came equipped with anything we might have needed, as well as being extremely cosy. After dropping our bags, some much bigger than others, we raced to take in the scenery, and were shocked. The hotel was metres away from the beach, just a sandy boardwalk separating the swimming pool and the waves, and the track was just a bike’s ride away.

After a night of well-deserved sleep and a delicious breakfast, we hired bikes to take us to the holiday’s first track session. We ended up at the stadium and partook in a session which definitely challenged us, the heat was blazing and tans were caught whilst we sprinted around a track just for Hillingdon.

After this, we took advantage of the hotel’s extremely cold pool and rested our muscles, before dining as a group for the first night.

The second day saw us train on the beach, which worked the athletes very hard. It seemed training on sand proved substantially more difficult than on a track, and everyone enjoyed going in the sea to cool their muscles. In the evening, the group ventured into the fairly quiet portugese town, buying delicious ice creams and taking in what our surroundings had to offer. The next few days were similar, and despite legs sore from extensive training, the holiday we all anticipated for months was everything we could’ve hoped for.

On Wednesday, after a day of core work, relays and revision, everyone visited a beautiful nearby town, full of shops and photo opportunities. The next day was one we had all been excited for, the water park. It was the chance to rest we all needed, and scorching temperatures made the day even more enjoyable.

Friday night was an opportunity to sit together and reflect on the week and everyone was disappointed to be going home so soon. Friendships had been made or grown stronger, skin bronzed, muscles worked and phones full of photos of the gorgeous sunset each night had to offer. The flight back home the next day was one we were all hesitant to get on since our week away had been so amazing, and the dark clouds England offered us when we returned made us envy the perfect weather back in Faro.

Overall, our holiday in Portugal was most definitely a memorable one and all the athletes are extremely thankful to those who made it possible, we already want to book a return flight just to experience the amazing week again.