Strange Sports in the Townships: Parkour and Freerunning

By Gordon Lambie
Strange Sports in the Townships: Parkour and Freerunning
(Photo : Gordon Lambie)

Bouncing off the walls; it’s a phrase people use often with relation to hyperactive small children and their seemingly boundless energy. It’s also a pretty decent description of what parkour looks like at first sight. Look up parkour on the internet and you will find videos of people running up vertical surfaces or leaping from rooftops onto the handrails of balconies or staircases in sometimes mind-boggling feats of balance and precision. Imagine running an obstacle course where the obstacles are walls and buildings around you. According to Philippe Letourneau, who owns and operates Le Module, a parkour gym in Sherbrooke, obstacle courses are more or less where the activity began. The sport, he said, can be traced back to a training course (or parcour) for firefighters in France. Adopted by some of the firefighters’ children and brought into an urban environment, parkour was born as a way of playing but also getting from point A to point B in more creative and efficient ways. See full story in the Friday, June 28 edition of The Record.

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