Freerunning or Parkour was officially recognised as a sport in the UK back in October 2016. Popularity has been growing worldwide much in the same way that skateboarding did in the USA back in the 1960s. The exciting sport has developed from being an almost unknown underground niche activity to a mainstream, professional sport attracting skilled exponents who use their talents as stuntmen in popular films such as: X-Men: Apocalypse.
What is Free Running?
Free Running is related to Parkour, but there are differences.
Parkour is french, the word being derived from ‘parcours’ meaning ‘route’ or ‘course’. It was originally called Art du Deplacement and was developed from military obstacle course training. Parkour involves running, swinging, jumping, vaulting and climbing over various obstacles to get from one point to another as quickly as possible.
Freerunning is very similar to Parkour but is more focused on the stylistic aspects of the sport. Parkour is more practical while freerunning is more creative.
Exponents of freerunning often like to use whatever they find in our urban environments to practice and hone their skills. Architectural obstacles, walls, rails, steps and rooftops often form parts of their assault courses and this is where problems can often occur.
Although those who engage in Parkour are supposed to respect their environments sadly this is not always the case. Hotspots have developed in some cities where freerunners take advantage of architectural features which they use as their assault course. They perform acrobatics while jumping between structures but in many cases the structures involved were never designed to be used as sports equipment.
Rooftops, which were never designed to be walked on, are a popular target. Free runners have caused costly damage to roofing materials allowing rainwater to get into buildings and cause even more internal damage. They have broken windows, damaged fascia boards and wall cappings, buckled railings and littered rooftops with discarded rubbish. Those responsible have also given the sport a bad reputation.
Protecting Property from Free Runner Damage
Recently, rooftop damage caused by freerunners was experienced by a city center commercial property. Slates were broken allowing rainwater to get into buildings causing even more damage. And free runners were not only damaging the rooftops they had also damaged ventilation ducting and littered the rooftops with rubbish.
Furthermore, they were putting themselves at risk of serious injury by leaping between 5 storey buildings while being filmed by their friends.
Property owners have a duty of care to all visitors, even if they climbed onto their rooftops. And they are required to be adequately prepared for children to be less careful than adults. They are required to take all reasonable steps to make certain people are safe. This means that property owners can potentially be liable if someone becomes injured while engaging in freerunning due to known defects which were not brought to the attention of the freerunner.
Non-Aggressive Anti Climb Barrier Protection
Preventing free runners from accessing their favoured rooftop assault courses was the solution which worked. While spikey, aggressive anti climb precautions might have been used it was anticipated that the freerunners would attempt to overcome whatever barrier was installed so anti climb spikes were immediately discounted. What was needed was an entirely non-aggressive anti climb barrier that would prevent access to the rooftops and protect expensive rooftop ventilation ducting.
Roller Barrier was the chosen solution because its entirely non-aggressive and it works. Wherever Roller Barrier is installed it makes climbing almost impossible and it turned what was previously a popular freerunning rooftop assault course into an inaccessible space that’s no longer being used or damaged by freerunners.
Roller Barrier Testimonials from Free Runners
After Roller Barrier had been installed some of the freerunners took to social media to complain that their favoured rooftop venue was, as they say, ‘pretty much ruined’ as a jumping assault course due to ‘anti climb rollers’.
…So Tootsies (the ID nickname used for this site) is pretty much ruined as a spot, the roof itself is still accessible (kind of) and the mission is doable but all but one of the jumps on the main part are now gone due to anti-climb rollers.
Roller Barrier is manufactured in the UK by Insight Security.