In the early hours of Wednesday 27th March, 19 very excited teenagers and adults, set off to the sunny Algarve for a week of warm weather training for Noel’s Endurance Squad.
A notable difference in temperature was evident as soon as we stepped off the plane, and although cloudy on arrival, the sun soon made a welcome appearance.
The resort was beautiful, with the spacious apartments set high on the cliff top overlooking the sea.  All had balconies or garden terraces, and with a salt water open pool and an igloo style covered pool, it couldn’t have been more perfect.
First on the agenda was lunch and all trekked off to a fantastic beach side restaurant to taste the local food.  No one was disappointed and while the adults sat and sipped wine and beer in the sun, the youngsters played on the beach under our watchful eyes.
Noel then took everyone, (except Alison and Rebecca, who decided to take a trip to the local supermarket, thankfully!!) on one of his many little strolls to show everyone the cross country course where the squad would be running.  Hours passed until the wanderers returned after a 5-6 mile round trip, all with aching legs
 and blisters on toes with words uttered of ‘never again!’  A welcome dip in the pool for the next two hours was very much appreciated!
All the athletes worked extremely hard during the week with team spirit high and put in 100% effort.  No mean feat with two sessions per day, plus all the walking to and from each session!  Faye was amazing.  I’ve never seen her run as fast, chasing the boys all the way.  She was very pleased with her times and deserved her cocktail in the evening!  Faye came with her friend, Kath from Lancaster and Morcambe, who put in an equally good performance( although I’m not sure whether the only reason she came was for the Mateus Rose that she stowed in everyone’s luggage on the way back!)
Training started with a run at 9.30 and another session at 4.30 either track, cross country, beach, road or hills.  All very demanding stuff, and Noel hoped the boys would take the opportunity to rest in between……………RIGHT!!…….. Relaxing consisted of bombing in the pool for hours on end, surf dodging in the sea, football and very competitive table tennis matches, and that was just Sean, Julian and Neil!!!
A special day was had by all on a trip to Villamora, where the athletes competed in a 1500m time trial, with most achieving new PB’s.  After a coffee and ice creams by the marina,  Noel decided to take us back along the cliff tops for a gentle stroll home….all 7miles of it. Are you sure you have a bad hip Noel?  The only thing keeping Alison and Rebecca going was the thought of working our way through the cocktail menu that evening, with Faye joining in as well!  Tough, but someone had to do it!
The food was delicious and all ate well, especially Tiarnan and Thomas, who devoured their entire body weight in food every evening! 
Evenings consisted of eating out and then meeting up at Pinoquio’s Bar, a favourite with the boys due to free Wi Fi, the men for the football on TV and the ladies for the cocktails!  Thomas developed a special relationship with his wing man Sean and kept us entertained with their constant banter.
No one wanted to leave, as to quote some of the boys, ‘it had been the best holiday ever’!  A very big thank you to Noel and his lovely wife Susan.  We all appreciate the effort you put into organising this trip and making it the success that it was. You are a fantastic coach.  It couldn’t have been better.  Roll on 2014!!!
Alison Marchant

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