We’ve all been there, walking down the sidewalk, seeing a nice curb and spontaneously deciding to walk on that instead – finding our balance, making our way to the end without fault. As a child, jumping and running on things that were never meant for such abuse was practically a day to day ritual done perhaps simply for the enjoyment of the challenge to conquer the urban landscape. Today, more and more individuals are taking this childhood pleasure to the next level in the form of what is known as parkour or free running.

Parkour is a sport where city streets become the runner’s jungle gym and the main objective is to overcome the urban architecture as quickly as possible. Picture yourself going for your morning run and coming across a 6 foot brick wall that you would normally just run around. However, this time you go over it. That’s the idea. Brick walls, fences, large staircases, even buildings and the gaps between them – to a traceur, are all things to overcome, not get around.

The sport began in the Parisian suburbs and is quickly becoming recognized and practiced globally. Perhaps akin to skateboarding’s rise in popularity after only a handful of individuals began “surfing” the streets in Santa Monica. The popularity of parkour is becoming evident in pop culture and media. The recent (2006) James Bond film, Casino Royale, featured an amazing feat of free running (a variant of Parkour) skills as Daniel Craig (007) chased Sebastien Foucan, the creator of free running, through a construction site, performing intricate free-running moves. Sebastien Foucan was also one of the free runners in Jump London, a BBC documentary showcasing the sport as he and his crew took on many of the great London monuments and buildings.

Besides being interesting to watch, elements of parkour and free running can be seen as great exercises, some of which are part of well established training