Running, urban, acrobatics1, and tricks—do those words seem to go together? If so, you may be a free runner. Free runners have taken tricks that are usually performed with a prop2 (or at least a net) and moved them into their daily lives and into public view.
Free running is a way of interacting with3 the urban landscape in an unusual way. Free runners use the city as a gym. Instead of following the typical paths or doing typical movements, free runners use urban obstacles4 as props for acrobatic tricks. Free running is related to the French idea of parkour, but parkour is about efficiency5, speed, and self-preservation6, while free running is more about fun.
The free running environment contains high and low walls, stairs, ramps7, bars and fences, arches, and doorways. Therefore, most free running moves are designed to use these elements8. There are a variety of different vaults for getting over low walls. There are running techniques to help scale9 high walls and flips10 to get down off them. Dives, rolls, and twists help protect the body when landing. And, of course, there are tons of ways to make each move more difficult, more athletic11, and more pleasing to watch.
All of these stunts12 are the reason free running competitions are often held within larger stunt competitions. There are more and more competitions dedicated13 solely14 to free running, however. There are free running clubs in many urban areas, and free running fans are now active in many of the world's cities. If you see urban obstacles you can jump over, climb, or duck15 under, then there are probably free runners in your city, too.