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Extreme London: take the leap into parkour

Posted at 5:15 pm, November 10, 2012 in Fun London
Parkour © Greg Funnell

No matter how often we see it on TV, parkour always seems superhuman, leaving us gaping uttering the words ‘I could never do that…’ well, Jade Bremner begs to differ as she undertook one of London’s parkour classes in her endeavour to spice up London life. Here’s how she found it…

‘First, my parkour coach, Dominic, gives me the bad news. My ‘warm-up’ involves scaling a five-foot wall 25 times. Then he gives me the really bad news. There are no ropes or safety nets in parkour. The only silver lining is that I’m attempting this extreme physical assault course at ‘Leap’, the first purpose-built parkour park in London. This means that if, or more accurately when, I fall, I’ll hit a spongy surface rather than concrete. This is fortunate as I haven’t tackled monkey bars since my childhood, yet am about to attempt to clamber over an adult playground that features walls as high as ten feet.

It’s fair to say things go badly from the off. My lack of strength means that my career as a free-running superhero ends at obstacle one, a seven-foot wall that all of my lean, strong, yoga-flexible fellow students clear with ease. I don’t. I grit my teeth, jump and… slide back down again. And again. And again. I remain on terra firma until one of the other class members offers me a bunk up. How humiliating. But still, I’m up and ready to take on the next obstacle, which Dominic gleefully reveals is a jump across a sevenfoot gap. He’s joking, right? Wrong. He’s serious and to make matters worse my fellow class members are all staring at me. I take the leap – and clear it! It feels amazing, utterly exhilarating and uncontrived. I’m never going to be an extreme free-running pro, but it’s fun to pretend I could be.’

A 1.5-hour session costs £10, and takes place at Westminster Academy. For more info, see parkourgenerations.com.

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