Tag Archives: sport

Sporty delights for the cold weather in south London

In August, Joe Coulson wrote us a post on summer sports in Brixton.  Now he shares his tips for keeping moving in the cold winter weather

(Photo: Matthew Bluett)

As any cliché-loving sports coach will tell you, winter is the season in which champions are made, and that’s not the only reason to keep running & cycling through the cold weather.

There are surely few more simple pleasures than spinning through the city on a crisp clear night, with your tyres humming frostily beneath you.

So here are some Brixton-bespoke ideas for enjoying your running and cycling until the spring.

Cunning running. A bit of inventiveness is all you need to keep running once the ice arrives. Last year, I found that outside Olive Morris House on Brixton Hill, with its overhanging shelter, made a great ice-free spot for the odd interval session. Better still, ask Father Christmas for a set of snow-cleats for your trainers and then when everyone else is fighting to stay upright, you’ll be granted exclusive use of a pristine white running wonderland.

Circuits in the park. If you’d prefer a bit of company, why not head down to the park for some circuit training? You’ll get the benefit of a good hour’s cardio work while improving your speed and core stability. A cheap pair of football boots is a wise investment when it gets muddy though. One Element run sessions on Streatham Common and across London, and Community Circuits run sessions in Brockwell Park.

Winter swim. You can swim outdoors through the winter at the Serpentine or Tooting Bec if you join and — whether you’re indoors or outdoors — getting involved in something like winterswim is a great way to stay motivated.

Weatherproof your ride. Never mind mudguards and waterproofs, the secret to happy winter cycling starts with a good base layer. One well-known brand claims to have been worn continuously for 40 days at sea during a round-the-world record attempt, so a few chilly early morning commutes through London shouldn’t be a problem. To keep your bike ship-shape, Brixton Cycles will sort you out with the essential degreaser and lube you need.   

Eat like an explorer. There’s a reason why the diet of choice for the high-altitude, sub-zero explorer includes soup, stew and hot tea: you get warmth, much-needed fluid, and food all in one go. I reckon Kaosarn is a hard-to-beat bet in Brixton for a warming winter meal, but — further afield – why not try Galapagos Foods in Battersea for a bowl of hearty homemade soup?

 What are your top winter exercise tips?

Joe Coulson blogs here

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Evelyn Grace Academy wins Stirling Prize for Architecture

Zaha Hadid has won the RIBA Stirling Prize for Architecture for her design of the Evelyn Grace Academy in Shakespeare Rd, Brixton. It is the first time a school has won the £20,000 award and is also the first school designed by Hadid. It beat the hot favourite, the Olympic Velodrome.

The Evelyn Grace Academy is an ARK (Absolute Return for Kids) Academy, set up by Arpad ‘Arki’ Busson, a hedge-fund millionaire. It had an especially complex brief. The average school takes up more than 8 hectares, but Hadid had only 1.4 hectares of space to play with in Brixton. Even more challenging – the Academy is structured as four small schools under the leadership of one Principal, so Hadid had to create a space where these schools could be independent but still maintain a sense of unity.

The small school structure is relatively new in the UK. Evelyn Grace has two schools for students aged 11-14 and two schools for students aged 15-19 all on one site, to provide smaller units in which pupils can be better supported. Each small school has its own headteacher, some of its own staff, and its own learning spaces.

The Academy’s specialism is sport and Zaha Hadid’s team cleverly solved the problem of space by inserting a 100m running track right up to the front door. The judges said, ‘this is a design that literally makes kids run to get into school in the morning.’

Angela Brady, RIBA President and Chair of the judges, said: “The Evelyn Grace Academy is an exceptional example of what can be achieved when we invest carefully in a well-designed new school building. The result – a highly imaginative, exciting Academy that shows the students, staff and local residents that they are valued – is what every school should and could be. The unique design, expertly inserted into an extremely tight site, celebrates the school’s sports specialism throughout its fabric, with drama and views of student participation at every contortion and turn.”

This is the second year running that Hadid has won the Stirling prize, with the Maxxi Museum of 21st Century Arts taking the top spot last year.

RIBA Stirling Prize 2011 winner – Evelyn Grace Academy, Brixton by Zaha Hadid Architects from RIBA on Vimeo.

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Sporty Spring


Spring is here! And so, to embrace the good weather and blooming of nature, here are some tips for outdoor sport in Brockwell Park:

Tai Chi in the Park: Starting in May, Brixton resident Pete Blake will be leading Tai Chi classes in Brockwell Park.  He already leads Tai Chi for Beginners at Yoga Haven in Clapham – as well as teaching tai chi in Brixton primary schools – and is expanding to London parks in time for the good weather. Joyful. See here for more details and here for his tai chi tweets.

Brockwell Park Run: Fed up of aimlessly jogging around Brockwell Park for a paltry half hour? Well here’s something to give a bit more motivation to a morning run. The Park Run is a free 5k timed run every Saturday at 9am – simply register here before 6pm on a Friday. If you don’t fancy the exercise, you can help out by volunteering.

Tennis: Courts in the park cost £4/hr and can be booked through GLL on 0845 130 8998

Bowls: The bowling green at Brockwell is free to use and no booking is required. A nice game of bowls and a cup of tea at Brockwell Hall – what could be nicer?

The Lido: The swimming season has been extended and will start on 2 April with a free open weekend – no payment for swimming and taster classes in the studios. Here’s hoping this season won’t be plagued by the same problems that caused multiple closures last year.



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The Brixton Week Ahead

Tuesday: Fun, silly, even cringeworthy – it’s the Open Mic night at Upstairs at The Ritzy. Sign-up is at 7pm and performances kick off at 7.30pm. If that’s too much for you, there are a bunch of good films on at the moment – ‘The King’s Speech’, ‘127 Hours’, ‘Of Gods and Men’.

Wednesday: Cute alt-pop band Silvers are from Brixton and they’ve been busy recording their first album in an underground studio in Atlantic Rd. You can see the fruits of their labour at the EP launch at The Windmill, 8pm. Listen here to hear them first.

Thursday: Sports time. For the stressed among you, there’s Hatha Yoga at 12pm at Brixton Rec. Or for something a little more hardcore, try Power Pump at 6pm. Both for all levels, so no excuses. See here for the programme.

Friday: Brixton Jamm has a massive line-up tonight – Jehst is headlining the event which includes 12 Tone Bass Band and DJ Chef.

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The weekend ahead in Brixton

You’ll have to wait until next weekend for the Jerk Cook-Off in Brockwell Park, but there’s still plenty to keep those tastebuds ticking over…

Friday: Brilliant laid-back reggae band The Hempolics are playing at Hootananny in a night that includes brass band Brassroots and ‘ska-rap-rock’ from Imperial Leisure.

Saturday: How about some sport? At the Brixton Rec today, there’s the alarming-sounding ‘Cardio Blast’ at 11am and Yoga at 11.30am…or you could just go for a swim. From 12-5pm, OxJam are holding a vintage jumble sale in The Dog Star in the lead-up to the OxJam music festival in October. And then, all pumped up and kitted out, dance the night away at Plan B‘s ‘House Rules’ night.

Sunday: Brunch at Brixton stalwart the Phoenix Cafe. No exercise today. Then at 6pm, if you can take it, there’s a Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz double bill at The Ritzy.

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