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Free running takes off on the Isle of Man's streets
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Will Sutton on the art of parkour

Imagine using everyday obstacles in your path like railings, steps and walls to perform stunts and you are close to the essence of Free Running.

Manx teenager, Will Sutton caught the free running bug five year ago and has become a leading figure in the sport on the island.

80,000 people have watched his You Tube Video showing him scale some of the island's most distinctive buildings.

Will said:"It's a mixture of art and sport with an amazing adrenalin rush".

He continued: "I first got into it when I saw a Channel 4 documentary called 'Jump Britain'. I loved the look of it and have been trying out different moves ever since".

James Bond films

Free running coach John Faragher explains how to make the sport safe.

It also helped me focus on the good things in life rather than the bad. My Mum died in 2005 and free running took me away from thinking about it all the time, it gave me something to look forward to and helped me cope with things at home."

Free running originated in France twenty years ago but appearances in James Bond films and high profile documentaries brought the sport to an international audience.

It is all about finding new ways of crossing an urban landscape with a grace more like dance than sport. In simplified terms it is jogging meets gymnastics with a bit of rock climbing thrown in.

It means everything in my life. It feels like you're floating in the air upside down and it is just something you never normally feel
Will Sutton, Free runner

There is now a fledgling free running fan base in the Isle of Man. Will uses his own expertise to help teach 80 youngsters at the Ellan Vannin Gymnastic Centre all eager to follow in his footsteps.

Head coach John Faragher said: "We start with some basic vaults and help them learn the moves first in the safety of the gym."

"It's just kids having fun and it is certainly better than them watching the television all day, it's keeping them mobile and active."

Dangerous stunts

But can a sport that encourages young people to climb walls and scramble along ledges ever be a safe one?

According to Will practising the basic techniques everyday is the only way to master the art safely and avoid picking up injuries.

"You don't have to go and try dangerous stunts, free running is not about impressing people; it's the art of movement where you use your mind and body to perform tricks using anything around you."

The number of free runners in the UK has steadily grown to around 15,000 and the first world championships were held in London in 2008.

Will hopes to become a full time free-running coach teaching kids how to take up the sport safely.




SEE ALSO
Free runners star in extreme film
03 Sep 04 |  Cambridgeshire
Freerunner clinches world victory
16 Aug 09 |  England
Town freerunners take a leap
07 Apr 10 |  Wales

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