What is free running? where did it stem from? Do not worry, I have all the answers for you.
Free running is an art of expression and movement with the environment. In 2003 a French man named Sabastian Foucan became the founder of free running.
He specified free running values as:
“always practice; respect others in their practice; Be an inspiration for others; Be positive and look for positive environments; Respect your environment; Feel free to try other disciplines; Don’t take it too seriously; The journey is more important than the goal; There is no good or bad, right or wrong, but what is important is what you learn from the experiences through practice; Free running is not an elite discipline, but for people to love and continue to move; channel your energy in a good way a way to be better”
Free running is not just a sport where you gain benefits physically, it benefits you emotionally and mentally as you have to connect with the environment and focus all your energy into your movement with the nature you are in at that present moment. When free running, you should express yourself by moving flowingly like it’s a dance move, but unlike dancing it is not like a particular move style or format that you are doing, the movement that you decide to do when you free running it is entirely up to you. There are no restrictions with your free run movement. You could do whatever you like. Jump as high as you want as long as you go from point A to B in a spectacular flowing style.
Free running, has no specific move it could be anything, you could add any movement, depending on your mood. Running from point A to be B is easy but adding emotion, movement and expression into it can be vigorous. Sabastian Foucan also stated;
“Free running, for me, is my Parkour evolution. I can’t say any more that I do Parkour, because if I want to be free to do flips, or let’s say I’m learning breakdancing, and I would like to incorporate it into my Parkour expression…Not to say I am doing capoeira, breakdancing, parkour and anything else. Free running is the way I choose to name my own expression. Now people recognise Parkour with flips as free running. But only the action of doing Parkour and flips is no Free running. It’s the action of adding more stuff into your expression. That’s the free running attitude”
Sabastian Foucan wanted to create a self-discipline sport which was more personal to the person itself, he is also the developer of parkour. Parkour and free running are not the same although a lot of people think that they are the same, they are different yet similar. Parkour is more intense, practical and obstacle course like compared to Free running.
The name Free running came to fruition after the documentary Jump London came around in 2003, as parkour and free running were different yet prior to the documentary they didn’t have a name for that movement. Foucan explained the difference by saying
“at the beginning the name free running was an idea of a person called guillaume palletier who worked with us at the time of Jump London (documentary). Some people think what I’m doing is not parkour now I call it ‘free running.’ Because there is a misunderstanding and people put a definition on what I’m doing!”
The form of self-expression is crucial everyone needs time on their own doing, away from the world and working on yourself. Free running allows an individual to do that. It allows you to be creative and choose your own scenario. You can do free running anywhere from deserts, big sky high building to a nice greenery land and that is the whole art of it.
Free running is not just about self-expression it also gives you an adrenaline rush, as you are out climbing, jumping running, moving.
Interview with Charlotte Wingfeild below: This interview was via Instagram, using social media platforms to connect to free runners because most of them are independent and their own will. Her social media will be added to the article and other sources of contact.
I have Charlotte Wingfield here with me today who is a Professional sprinter and a Free runner.
- When did you first discover free running?
“in general I have been running for a very long time, I can’t remember when I first started however when I was around 11 years old I started Free running.”
- Do you find sprinting different to free running?
“of course they are completely different. First of all, Free running is free, you do not pay to train what’s so ever. It is just you and your surroundings. With sprinting, you have to go as fast as you can to the other side there is no art behind sprinting you just need to keep going as quick as you can unlike free running where you create tie between you and your surroundings, Free running is not at all like sprinting it is more harmonic, it is about self-expression and energies.”
- How has free running benefitted you?
“I would say it has given me a healthier happier mind set and made me connect with the environment. We live in a day where people sit at home all day during their free time using their phones. Spending their whole day on social media and technology.”
“Free running has allowed me to be in my own headspace and whatever I am feeling on that day I move, I jump, I hold on to buildings and climb up, I may even do flips and when I get to the other side and I’ve finished I feel like I have achieved something and this makes me feel great. I can carry on with my day being positive and happier as I feel like I have achieved something already.”
- Do you think the Free running sport is not as significant as other sports?
“Yes, I am almost certain Free running is not as significant as other sports, but you see for me free running is just not a sport it is a form of art, expression and culture where people could really express themselves in their own movement and just let loose. Everyone has a different way of expressing themselves but this could be a very skilled way to express oneself. With free running, you could never stop learning, you can also go on to doing other sports. In my opinion Free running should be more common I mean it is FREEE!”
As free running has a lot of acrobatics movements, when you do acrobatics/gymnastics you gain flexibility, you have healthier stronger bones, your less likely to be obese and have an increase of self-esteem and good social skills. This can be at any age.
If acrobatics is good for your health so is Free running, NHS health advisor who works in Essex, King George hospital Victoria Sefton has said;
“in Essex or shall I say everywhere, Mental illness has risen by 60% in the last 7 years, it is getting a lot more difficult to control it because every individual is different and not all mental illness is the same. However, there are many ways to control your bad mental health and Free running is one of them. Instead of medication used to help manage your mental health, we should be more proactive”
- Do you think it is a struggle to be more proactive when you have mental health problems?
“I do but I also feel as if we need to take one step at a time, when you are mentally not well, every day is challenging, you feel tired, you can gain weight or lose weight, your appetite will either increase or decrease and everyday motivation is almost zero to nothing, if people don’t take one step at a time to recovery, their health can worsen and you can get physically ill because your mental health is always linked with your physical health and if your, mental health is not well and you do not heal yourself you could get physically ill have a diseases like high blood-pressure, diabetes, stroke, low blood-pressure heart problems.”
- How does being more physically active help your mental health?
“being more physically active and doing sports like Free running can decrease feelings of depression, anxiety, tension and releases stress. Your sleeping pattern would automatically improve, being more proactive limits the chances of you having mental health problems at old age, for example like dementia and Alzheimer. You feel more energized when you are more proactive and doing sports”
- Do you think Free running is a popular sport?
“Free running should be more talked about and more common, there are two documentaries that I am personally aware of on Free running, I think it should be more talked about as it would reduce resident’s mental health.”
- How do you the Free running helps people’s mental health?
“Free running is a freedom of expression you see. It allows you to empathies with fear because you are doing flips and climbing things whilst running from one part of a place to another and that could be highly dangerous, but free runners still have the bravery to take the risk. With Free running, you manage your own thoughts as you are focusing all your energy, movement and thought into a movement and what it stands for”
So, express yourself now, beautifully in your environment.