While toddlers splashed in the water nearby, athletes tackled ramps, boxes, vaults and a quasi-jungle gym at the first-ever Orchard Park Parkour Jam and Competition Monday afternoon.
Athletes ranging in age from 7 to early 30s took over Orchard Park Monday to practice, train and compete in a parkour competition.
Parkour is the sport of moving through a space in the most efficient manner possible, while also adding some fun flips, rolls and spins. Parkour athletes don’t run around obstacles, they jump over them, and use them to launch into tricks of all types.
Landon Marriott, 14, is a Lehi resident who has been doing parkour for about five years. He competed in Monday’s adult competition. Before his run, he planned out his “line,” down to the step.
“You have to make sure you know your line. That’s what you’re going to do and how you’re going to go,” he said.
Denali Siruno, 15, agreed with his friend’s strategy. Denali is from Lehi as well, and was excited about the day-long event. He’s been parkouring for four years, and his goal during his run was to throw in a few big tricks and pepper the rest with a lot of little tricks.
“Parkour is super fun. It’s fun to progress and do new things, and you feel awesome when you land a trick you’ve never done before,” Denali said before his run.
“And it gets out a ton of energy,” Landon added. “It’s fun to feel so light in the air.”
Rogan Taylor, a 12-year-old from Orem, was the first contender in the youth competition. Although he has friends who do parkour, this was his first time trying the sport. He too was amazed at his ability to tackle tricks he was nervous about at the beginning of the day. When he first started Monday morning, he didn’t think he could jump over the vaults – A-frame wooden obstacles.
“But it’s been cool to see I can do that,” he said.
Ryan Sannar, founder of Parkour Utah, and Calen Chan, founder of YGT Freerunning, organized the event to bring together the parkour community and create more awareness of the sport in Utah County.
“Our goal is to increase the sport here, nationally and in the international sphere. In the United States, we don’t have the reach Europe does,” Sannar said, explaining that parkour is a major sport outside of the U.S. but most Americans only see it in movies, commercials and video games.
Sannar has been doing parkour for 13 years. When he started he had to teach himself, using videos and ideas he got from his martial arts training. He’s committed to teaching others through classes and events like Monday’s Jam and competition, because he can help others safely progress in the sport.
“Just like anything else, having a teacher is not a bad idea,” he said. “We train to not only overcome fear, but to understand your current limits of your bodies and then safely go beyond them.”
Chan loves Jam sessions. The energy, excitement and camaraderie of the events are what hooked him in the sport years ago. He now does parkour for YouTube, commercials and competitions on a larger scale. He also teaches classes.
“I think everybody should do a little parkour. It improves your coordination,” he said. “Being able to hold events like this — this is just the start of what I’d like for this community.”
Chan and Sannar plan to make this an annual event, and regularly hold classes for ages 7 and up all around Utah County. To find out when and where those classes are, visit https://parkourutah.com.