Expert says parkour is booming in Birmingham

A Birmingham parkour expert believes the activity is on the rise across the city.

Also known as free-running, the activity involves running, climbing and jumping around obstacles in an urban environment. It requires strength, stamina and bravery to execute many stunts.

Oliver Watkins, 19, has been practicing parkour for ten years and has seen interest in a group he is involved with in Edgbaston from people of all ages.

“My mum suggested I try something new when I was nine and I enjoyed it,” he said. “I’ve been doing it ever since.

“The good thing is that you can start whenever you like. There are parkour groups with children as young as 5.”

Although parkour is regarded as a pastime, Oliver admits that it can be tagged with an unwanted stigma of being antisocial.

“We were doing jumps off a bus stop and people told us not to,” he said. “We weren’t doing anything disrespectful or damaging, but they assumed we were.”

But despite this, Oliver believes the rise in people taking part is “a great thing for the parkour community”.

He explained: “It tends to be more active people who start parkour training in the first place, but pretty much everyone who tries it ends up enjoying it.”

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