Saturday, August 3, 2013

Colorado Parkour National Jam/Apex Movement Invitational

How many people go on vacation with their significant other, then spend their days alone, having two separate vacations? Jesus and I certainly do. The whole reason we came out here was for the national parkour jam happening here this weekend, and so Jesus could take a coaching certification class. The fact that the event began on his birthday and ends on mine seemed to signify to us that we needed to come.

I've enjoyed my personal time during the day while Jesus has class. We meet up for lunch and have the evenings to ourselves. Usually this means searching out new places to eat or walking to the Y for a drop-in shower. Last night, though, we stayed at the gym to watch the Apex Movement Invitational--a parkour competition that included several obstacle courses and physical challenges. The gym--a huge warehouse filled with wooden structures, rails, tumbling mats, ledges, and more--was just built, so many of the competitors aren't yet familiar with all the obstacles.

About 20 traceurs competed, each running the initial obstacle course twice. Their fastest time was scored and the bottom seven were eliminated. Because there are so many aspects of parkour, no course run was the same. Each competitor put their own unique spin on it, making sure to hit the required marks. We spectators sat back in awe at the speed, grace, and heights the competitors reached.

After the primary obstacle course came the challenges. Competitors had 20 minutes to complete 5 challenges ranging from jumping from rail to rail, swinging from rail to rail and landing on another rail, and jumping from one platform to another. In these challenges, the floor was "lava" and touching down meant points were taken away.

Last came the final obstacle course, filled with heights and army crawls, leaps and feats of balance. The competitors got two runs again, but by the end of the night their exhaustion showed. Still, they broke personal records, the quickest run clocking in at just over 22 seconds.

What I enjoyed was the camaraderie and good sportsmanship--every completed course got loud cheers and any special stunts the competitors pulled off were met with loud shouts and whistles. The competitors themselves were each others biggest cheerleaders, giving hugs as they finished. When anyone had difficulties on the course, the entire gym started clapping and encouraging them. At one point, a competitor scratched, meaning she wouldn't place. She still wanted to finish the course, especially its huge jump to the final platform, one that required a crash mat on the ground below because of its height and difficulty. She paused to catch her breath and the crowd started cheering her on. She went for it--and made it. The whole gym erupted in cheers. Even I wanted to run up and hug her.

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