Dunedin will be the urban playground for dozens of
''parkour'' practitioners, who will run, climb, swing, vault,
jump and roll around the city as part of a national
Alex Pearson (28) has been doing parkour for the past three
years, which complemented the gymnastics he did as a child,
''That was the best preparation. It gives you so much
strength and physical awareness.''
Several years ago he watched YouTube clips of some people in
the United Kingdom doing parkour, and ''I just gave it a
go'', Pearson said.
About 30 people took part in parkour in Dunedin, and those
numbers were expected to swell when a national gathering was
held on April 25-27.
The gathering was about seeing the skills and tricks of other
exponents, and exploring the city, Pearson said.
''There was no competition as such. You just push yourself
and I make sure I am better than everyone.''
Pearson also teaches children parkour and free running at the
Dunedin Gymnastics Academy.
Parkour was viewed as a method of getting from A to B in a
fluid manner using jumps and climbing, whereas free running
was about doing ''cool tricks outside''.
Asked if he had ever hurt himself, Pearson was unequivocal -
''all the time''.
He had suffered sprains and broken bones by pushing himself
too far, but he encouraged restraint in those he taught.
''Personally, I won't do that big jump until I have worked up
to it at the gym.''
He recently pulled off a double back flip followed by a
double back somersault, and also a flip off a wall with a
full twist - ''which is pretty cool''.