WHEN Angie Rupp used to run to keep fit she found her mind would wander.
"I always got bored," she admits. Casting around for something to engage her brain as well as body, the Glasgow vet stumbled across the perfect endeavour: parkour.
An urban pursuit which involves overcoming obstacles through creative use of running, jumping, climbing and balancing, among the sport's most famous practitioners is Frenchman Sebastien Foucan, whose gravity defying moves were charted in Mike Christie's awe inspiring documentary, Jump London, and with a starring role in James Bond flick, Casino Royale.
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When Rupp, 35, heard about classes beginning in Glasgow she was intrigued. "I was hooked from the start," she says. Almost five years on her passion shows no sign of waning and she recently became the first woman in Scotland to qualify as a parkour coach.
"I see parkour as a metaphor for life," she says. "It teaches you to solve problems, be determined in what you do and follow through on your actions. You either do it or you don't do it – and if you chose to do, then you do it properly."
Remember how much fun it was as a child to move around a room without ever touching the floor? It's a notion parkour draws its essence from. "It's not tricky to learn because everyone can walk or run," says Rupp. "Parkour takes basic movements such as running, jumping, crawling, walking and balancing, then progresses those on. It builds on basic blocks that anyone can do – that's the beauty of the sport."
"It's fun to do, you are outdoors, learn a lot about yourself, get stronger, it's a nice way to exercise and extremely social too. I would love to see more women doing parkour and we do run weekly female-only classes in Glasgow."
Rupp dispenses with what she sees as a common misconception about the sport.
"People often have the idea that it's for adrenaline junkies and that's simply not true," she says. "I wouldn't say there is a thrill factor – at least not for me. The risks are all calculated. I would never do anything if there was a chance I could hurt myself."
In addition to Glasgow, she has utlilised the city streets of Washington DC, London, Brisbane, Paris and her hometown of Munich. "Parkour has changed how I see the world," she says. "When I go somewhere I now look at it completely differently than I perhaps would have before, not least when it comes to architecture. I find myself looking out for rails, walls and other things I could use to train on."
The biggest lure, however, is the improved sense of overall physical wellbeing. "There is a strong element of cardio involved but it's great for improving core strength and the upper body too. Basically, parkour is an all over work out – especially for the brain. I like progressing, learning and pushing my own individual boundaries to achieve more than I thought was possible."
For more information, visit www.glasgowparkour.co.uk