Le Parkour / Freerunning

Fairly recently I have discovered the "art" of Free running; although too much effort for someone such as myself, a very close friend of mine seems to have taken up the urban sport.

For those of you that do not know what freerunning is, here is a brief description: teenagers and other urban types have taken to running around cityscapes, leaping, bounding, vaulting and sprinting dependant on whatever obstacles are in their paths.

Much like previous urban sports (such as aggressive skating and BMXing) there are various techniques and "moves" available to inspire awe and excitement in onlookers (often other members of the free-running community); one of the most impressive manouvres that I have seen is the use of walls to launch yourself off of – and then continue running in the direction you just came from. Personally, if I needed to turn round through 180 degrees whilst running, I would: stop, turn around, start running again. But this has no flair or excitement, it interrupts the "freedom" and therefore the "flow" of the run.

Now, the "person" that has undertaken this lifestyle change is not the type you would expect to do so… it’s my cat, Arnold! Regular readers will know all about my unique feline friend, but what I had previously, erroneously thought was my cat being a little old and senile, turns out (in my opinion) to be a very modern pursuit of fitness and agility.

On Sunday I was pottering around the kitchen, tidying, cleaning, ironing and washing (God I sound old!) and had absent mindedly left the lid of the washing basket in the doorway whilst loading up the washing machine. Arny was doing her usual trick of darting around the house at lightening speed until she decided that the next place to explore was the kitchen.

What happened next completely changed my view of the little ball of fluff with razor blades; she ran to the kitchen door, saw the washing-basket-lid in her path, launched herself over it, planted all four of her paws (VERTICALLY) on the side of the cupboard housing the tumble drier, and vaulted off whilst spinning through 180 degrees, landed on all fours and continued running in the direction she had just come.

So there we have it, Arnold the Circus Cat is also a "hip" modern sportsperson!

Since seeing this, I have noticed that whenever she is running around the house, she isn’t just doing it out of a cerebral deficiency! In the same way that freerunners are not satisified with going from A to B, Arnold also enjoys making all journeys through C, D and E as long as there are some long, high or death defying leaps in between.

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