Athens, GA – You may have seen people running up walls of campus buildings or doing flips over rails on Tate Plaza. These guys are participating in a French sport called Parkour. Now, Athens Parkour may seem like an extreme form of exercise, Reporter Meredith Dean explains that this type of training has changed the lives of these Athens residents.

Sprinting across a busy plaza, climbing across a building face or huge trees, leaping across a huge gap. You may think that those who practice Parkour are superheroes, but they say that anyone has the ability to do it according to Ray Smith of Athens Parkour.

“Most of the difficulty in actually training parkour isn’t the physical aspect, you can train the physical aspect in a gym, it’s the mental aspects that are the most difficult. Once you overcome that mental block, you realize that you are physically capable of doing it and there’s nothing to be afraid of anymore.ou realize that you are physically capable of doing it and there’s nothing to be afraid of anymore. When climbing trees, your average citizen is afraid of climbing trees, they are physical capable, but they’re afraid to.”

And those who participate in Parkour say that all you need are shoes, sweatpants, and a sense of adventure.

These traceurs come from all walks of life. A married man, a middle schooler, an emergency medical technician, a singer, and of course, UGA male and female students. One thing they all have in common? Parkour has completely changed their lives.

Chris O’Neill explains how this made such a profound impact on his life: ”

I was smoking a pack and a half a day, then I started doing parkour I quit cold turkey. I started jumping and everything in my life started to make sense. The way that you move in parkour is the same way that you start to look at everything in your life. In parkour you can have a set of obstacles in your way. You can look at it like I want to do this in my career and I have these things in front of me. I can’t imagine my life without it.”

So if you see this group on campus, know that they’re no vandals or punks, but athletes who challenge not just their bodies, but also their minds.

Athens Parkour trains every Tuesday and Thursday at 6pm on UGA’s campus. They say that surprisingly, there are few to no injuries.

By: Meredith Dean

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