A group of seven Brixton teenagers will take on a life-changing challenge when they complete a series of gruelling physical trials for charity.
Under the guidance of Sky Sports presenter Charlie Webster, the youngsters will tackle five physical components including a Northern Line stair climb, Boris Bike relay and paddle boarding at the Olympic Park in 48 hours between 8 and 10 June.
The “magnificent seven”, who come from estates around Brixton, all take part in the St Matthews Project, the sports organisation for which they aim to raise £15,000 for football facilities.
Last week the intrepid Running for a Life team joined Charlie and Sky TV cameras to train at the seven-storey tower at Brixton Fire Station more usually used to prepare firefighters for tower block blazes. They also enjoyed a visit to the Sky Sports studios to get a taste of life in front of and behind the cameras.
The project is already having a massive impact not just on the seven teenagers involved but their families and those around them. Speaking after sprinting the to the top of the seven-floor tower, Harvey Uter, 17 said: “I volunteered for the project because I saw it as a good way to change your life.
“This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. I have lost a lot weight while training and it has made me responsible for how I train and what I eat.
“We’ve had to work as a team, and do individual training so we don’t let the team down. This is down to us.”
Charlie Webster, who used to live near Railton Road, set up Running for a Life after seing the transformational influence of sport on her own life.
She told the Brixton Blog: “I was brought up in Sheffield in a similar place to these guys. I had a lot of childhood issues too. My mum was a teenager and we didn’t have much money – it messed me up quite a bit and I had a lot of issues.”
But it was when she joined a running club, aged 11, that Charlie began to believe in herself. “I wouldn’t be where I am without sport, it improved me in so many ways,” she added.
The television personality said she wants to combat the consistently negative view of Brixton portrayed in the media. She said proudly: “Here are seven young people who are from the same place as those who cause the trouble that you see in the media. But these are the ones we should be promoting.”
Further details about the Endurance Weekend will be published on the website.