Running free, winning fans
Freerun X5 is Bunbury’s own professional parkour and free running team attracting international attention in a bid to put WA on the sport’s global map.
The team captured Bunbury’s imagination, defying gravity to jump over nine audience members at last year’s Carols Concert.
There is another opportunity to watch competitors perform daring stunts at the X5 Jam competition in the CBD this weekend.
Senior coach Marc Hay said the team began with a group of friends in high school who merged their passion with their career path and now teach more than 300 youngsters a week at the X5 Academy.
“Having such a strong passion you try and express it as much as you can,” Hay said.
“We have a really tight team, we’ve been really close and now that it’s our career, it ignites our passion to pursue it more and more.”
Parkour is a sport where an athlete rapidly moves through an urban environment, negotiating obstacles by running, jumping and climbing.
Free running is an extension of this sport which incorporates acrobatic techniques and self-expression.
Hay said Freerun X5 like to think they are the biggest team in WA and have established connections with other teams around Australia and the world.
“We definitely find we have a good reputation around Australia and have met people from all over the world,” he said.
“Now it’s just a matter of trying to get them to come to us and keep trying to get our way to them.”
The X5 Academy was the first purpose-built parkour gym in WA, which was upgraded last October and offers training sessions for ages three and up.
“Any shape, any size, any age can do it, everyone just really enjoys it because it’s an unusual and alternative sport,” Hay said.
“You don’t need to be in a team for it or have equipment for it, just yourself and a pair of shoes.
“A lot of it is about exploring as well, trying to get out there and see something in a different way.”
After the success of last year’s competition, Hay said the team decided to make it the biggest event yet with assistance from the Bunbury City Council.
“We have way more interest this year, with international guests from Switzerland as well as athletes from over east,” he said.
This year’s event will run over two days at Anzac Park on Saturday and the X5 Academy on Sunday, with the road closure of Victoria Street between Stirling and Stephen streets to accommodate the competition.
The free event will feature 40 competitors, food trucks and DJs as well as appearances from the Bunbury Roller Derby.
“The Jam is mainly for the community because when we started there was never anything like this for us to do, so it will be good to have an event that is community based for ourselves as well,” Hay said.
Freerun X5’s ultimate goal is to one day compete in Art of Motion, the biggest free-running and parkour competition in the world at Santorini, Greece.
“It’s just lots of training and hard work to get there,” he said.
“It’s a never ending sport, you can do it forever, you will never hit the point where you have done everything in the world – the possibilities are endless.”
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