You can’t parkour around here mate

Parkour has just been recognised as a sport by the UK sports council. For the development of this sport, also known as freerunning, this is good news as it now allows it to attract government grants and National Lottery funding.

Often perceived as being a high-risk activity in an urban environment, it was interesting listening to Sébastien Foucan in a recent radio interview. He’s a spokesperson for the sport but probably more recognised as the stunt man who did the audacious roof top chase in the James Bond film “Casino Royale”. He eloquently talked about it not being restricted to a “built environment” (i.e. urban) but about being a non-competitive discipline in public spaces. It was revealing and inspiring to hear him describe the need to respect the environment and that you could do the sport while “staying on the ground”. In response to the view that it wasn’t a sport, Sébastien stated they could measure and assess participants, as there were defined techniques and levels of progression. Adding that it was similar to gymnastics, you needed to respect the levels and not take risks by attempting something well outside your progression. I’m making him sound a bit dull, on radio he was enthusiastic and positive.

Why bother? I think it might be the simple attraction of being a big kid again, enjoying the freedom of running around outside, and the simple joys that came from doing things just because you could, like climbing trees and the fun of jumping off low walls and park benches, now being carried through to a bigger playground. Here’s an inspiring free running story.

There could be a downside, the trouble with being a recognised activity is that it can then become too elitist and competitive. While not a recognised “sport”,  Urban Exploration, or Urbex seems to have splintered into various factions, which does seem to be more prone to macho posturing, especially for social media. Mind you both Parkour and Urbex would look pretty spectacular as an Olympic Sport and far more an intrinsic challenge then many of the soi-disant Olympic Sports!

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Gym Bunny

So its that time of the year when “new year resolutions” get made. For many that message is “get fit, be healthier” and one big way is to join the gym.

That’s the easy bit over with. Joining the gym! As long as you afford the expense.

Then the kit buying, that occupies time and more expense.

Then the routine. Most gyms despite all the high tech are quite crap. A repetitive machine and mirrors, lots of mirrors. And as everyone else had the same new year resolution as you, and most seem to have office jobs just like you, they’re busy when you get there. Busy and Boring. Um.

When its winter its too dark to go out early mornings and its too dark and cold to go later in the evening. Suddenly that new year resolution looks shaky. Much better and easier to just get a hobby and get a routine. Go for a run, go for a swim, go for a cycle. Go for a walk. Less expensive than a gym and probably a whole lot better. Maybe a resolution for next year!

Who would want to be a coach?

After England didn’t win the Rugby World Cup, that they hosted, the head coach Stuart Lancaster took the blame and was ousted.

Now Eddie Jones has been appointed. While it was clear Lancaster was going to be the brunt of the lack of success as a coach he had been lauded before the World Cup, much like the new man, Eddie Jones is being. Will he do the trick and help England onto a winning path? On paper it looks encouraging. But the odds are stacked high, only one team can be the best in the world, only one team can win a tournament. So where does that leave all the rest?