From School Playground to Parkour Coach - AboutMyArea Speaks to Harley Elliott
|Author: Haley Storey
|Published: 24th March 2017 18:12
As a child, Harley Elliott used to run around his school playground jumping across the benches. Years later he found out that what he was doing was actually a recognised professional sport.
Now he runs Parkour Coach, an organisaiton that teaches the sport of free running and parkour to all ages.
"Parkour is a French term and it was a way to train firefighters, " Harley explained, "It's one of those things that became a sport over a period of time.
"Parkour is about going over, under and through obstacles in the fastest way possible to get from A to B. Free running is slightly different, it's about the flip and tricks, the exciting things you see in the media so not necessarily always about efficiency. We focus on both aspects."
It was a documentary programme on Channel 4 which sparked Harley's passion. He explained, "It was called Jump London and it brought what I was doing as a kid into the spotlight. I thought it looked amazing and wanted to give it a go. I met a community of people online who were doing it and I have been training with them ever since."
Harley went on to have huge success in the sport and ended up being a sponsored athlete for Buff Clothing. He also worked with Rowntrees and at extreme sports festivals. He said, "There's a lot of professional athletes out there. There are two different avenues you can go down. One is the coaching aspect and the other is being an active performer or sponsored athlete promoting big companies.
"We offer parkour and free running based fitness classes allowing people to get into great shape, gaining lean muscle and burning fat and to get to a place where they feel that they are happy with their body. We don't just focus on parkour and free running but we integrate aspects of it into our classes.
"The good thing about it is that you don't need equipment for it. We're very flexible in terms of where we can go but one of the common meeting points for us is the Guildhall Square. We meet at the Queen statue and we go round the area to places like the law courts, the university and the local parks."
Harley, who was also a gymnast as a child, is 23 but says that the sport is not just for young people.
"It's for people of all ages. I would say it for people who want to get in shape and try something different. I've worked with a 55-year-old who does exactly what everyone else does. It's one of those things that if you're training safely with a professional, there's nothing that can go wrong. It's extremely safe when it's done correctly which is why we're making sure that people don't go out and hurt themselves.
For more information, you can follow the Parkour Coach Facebook page.