Sport: what’s on in Brighton and Hove

Active After Work

The working week is almost over, you’ve had enough of phonecalls and meetings and you really don’t feel like going to the gym. Well, how about getting your colleagues together for some sport instead?

Part of the annual TAKEPART festival, Active After Work is a brand new programme encouraging colleagues to team up and let off some steam with activities and friendly competitions, which will take place throughout July.

Get scouting around your workplace for the colleague with the best backhand, as Beach Tennis UK has organised a doubles round-robin tennis competition on Brighton beach sand court. Use it as an opportunity for some informal team building, or just an excuse to enjoy a summer evening on the beach that doesn’t involve warm beer and a feeble BBQ.

Other seafront events include a Ping Pong cup, sea swimming and Paddle Something Unusual, where small businesses and sports clubs can promote themselves on the water as part of the Paddle Round The Pier event.


Elsewhere there are events for just about every sport you fancy, from cricket at the County Ground to cycling at Preston Park velodrome, and it’s bound to be much more fun than the gym.

Brighton Big Dog, Stanmer Park, Brighton, Saturday August 15.

When thinking about the country’s best locations for mountain biking, Brighton is probably not the first place that springs to mind. But ever since their first event in 2009, the Brighton Big Dog team has been determined to mark their territory on the MTB map.

Big Dog is an award winning mountain biking event taking place annually in the woodland at Stanmer Park. And having appeared in a number of lists including the Guardian’s top 5 cycling events and the World’s Ultimate Cycle Races, Big Dog just keeps getting bigger.

Whatever your age, ability or tyre size (yes, really) there is a category especially for you. Register solo, with a partner or as a team and take on the six-hour course, which is one of the best of its kind in Britain.

There’s even a competitive element for those coming to support the riders. The Big Dog’s traditional cake contest will continue this year, with biking themed decorated cakes being entered into a public ballot.

On their return to the finish line, riders can celebrate with music from the Diprose brothers, the DJs behind the popular Ride Journal magazine, before ending the day with a party on the beach.

Race for Life, Stanmer Park, Brighton, Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th July

Cancer Research’s annual Race for Life is back, and it’s back with a vengeance. This year the charity released its boldest campaign to date encouraging women to ‘join the pink army’, and thousands of women will assemble in Stanmer Park this July to do just that.

Fundraising events will take place across the weekend, kicking off on Saturday with Pretty Muddy, an obstacle course that will see its challengers get truly down and dirty. The five kilometer course will have participants climbing, sliding and crawling through mud to show nothing will stop them on their way to tackling Cancer.

On Sunday, prepare to witness a sea of pink when the more traditional race sets off. Ladies of any age are invited to take part in any way they feel fit, with walking, jogging and dancing all suggested as ways of completing the courses, which are either five or ten kilometers.

race for life

Photo credit: Neil Tilbrook

Whether you run in memory of a loved one, for the cause in general or simply for fun, don’t miss out on joining Britain’s biggest and boldest sporting fundraiser. And don’t forget this year’s Race for Life mantra; hell hath no fury like a woman in pink.

Eastbourne Extreme, Eastbourne, Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th July

For one weekend in July, the pretty Eastbourne seafront will undergo an extreme transformation as Eastbourne Extreme festival returns, kicking of the summer holidays with adrenaline-fuelled sports and activities.

Sports teams from all over the country will be demonstrating their talents at the free festival, and are guaranteed to impress the whole family. Among these will be Freestyle BMX team MBE and mountain bike stunt squad Zero Gravity, who will both be putting on thrilling performances over the weekend.

You can cheer on Eastbourne’s very own roller derby team, the Bourne Bombshells, whose 150 male, female and junior members will be battling it out in a two-day tournament. A line-up of great local bands will be providing live music performances on the festival’s main stage and there will also be a fleet of VW camper vans for any petrolheads to admire.

There will be plenty of activities to try out for yourself on sea as well as land. Classes in skating and pole dancing will be on offer and Spray Water Sports will be giving tuition in a range of water activities. There will then be competitions in windsurfing and SUP boarding where you can show off your skills.

London to Brighton Night Ride, Saturday 11th to Sunday 12th July

We’ve all heard of, witnessed or been delayed by the London to Brighton bike ride at some point in our lives, and June saw it return for its 40th year, with around 28000 people taking to their bikes to raise money. But the British Heart Foundation’s legendary sporting fundraiser is not over yet.

Scores of participants are now digging out their bike lights and preparing themselves for the race’s nocturnal counterpart – the London to Brighton Night Ride. Renowned for its unique, exciting atmosphere, the ride will set off from Clapham Common on Saturday July 11 and ride through the night on a 60 mile route to its seaside conclusion the next day.

For spectators willing to stay up late and brave the cold it will be a sight to behold, as an expected 5000 cyclists will cruise out of the bright city lights into the outskirts of the capital, then beyond into the darkness.

Following a route largely similar to the one of its famous cousin, the riders will then speed through the Surrey countryside, onwards through Sussex where they will tackle the South Downs, and finally cross the Brighton finish line in time to see the sun rise.

Festival of Rugby

In celebration of this year’s Rugby World Cup being hosted in part at Brighton Community Stadium, TAKEPART sport and physical activity festival will be joining in with the national Festival of Rugby by hosting a range of rugby activities for all ages to enjoy.

The festival has been working alongside local clubs and the Rugby Union to organise the events, which they hope will teach people about the sport and encourage them to get involved in the short and long term.

The activities include a touch rugby tournament at Hove Recreation Ground, which is open to mixed teams of people aged 16 and over. The friendly competition has been organised by Hove Rugby Club as part of the Active After Work programme.

A six-week Sportivate rugby course is currently underway in Portslade and will end on July 16th.The course is open to young people aged 11 to 16 and is a great introduction to the sport.

Many more activities will be taking place across Sussex until the end of the World Cup in October. There will even be a Fanzone on Brighton beach where fans can gather to soak up the atmosphere and watch all the games with 10,000 fellow Rugby lovers.

Macmillan sporting fundraisers

Well known for hosting a range of sporting fundraisers, Macmillan Cancer Support are now encouraging people to go the extra length to raise money by taking part in a sponsored swim.

People will be donning their green swimming caps and taking to the water up and down the country in pools, docks and even the sea. Pells Pool, the historic outdoor lido in Lewes, will also play host to a day of events on Saturday September 19. The distances to choose from are two and five kilometers, and participants can choose to go it alone or team up and complete the swim in relay.

Also taking place in the area is the Macmillan Mighty Hike, a 26-mile walk starting in Brighton on Saturday July 11. The coastal hike will take you on a beautiful route over the picturesque cliffs of the Seven Sisters Country Park before you reach the finish line in Eastbourne, where a glass of bubby and a finisher’s medal will await you.

Macmillan always encourage spectators to come along to cheer on their family and friends taking part, so even if you aren’t taking the plunge or going the distance, you can always show your support.

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