Friday was a massive open gym session at Primal where people did tons of bar training and flips upstairs as well as tearing it up on some really cool setups in the main gym.
Saturday morning we hit up Gateway Park in Rosslyn. Gateway is always accommodating, and this year was no exception, we jammed there for about 3 hours with over 250 people with no problems and lots of curious onlookers. We ran a host of seminars from beginner to expert mostly given by the people who were newly Certified at our APK Parkour Instructor Certification Program which ran the previous week at Primal. It was grueling hot in the sun so thankfully our main sponsor for the event Vita Coco was on hand with plenty of cold drinks for everyone, the Vita Coco girls Emmy and Emily were awesome. Gateway park offers a huge variety of terrain, so while some groups were flipping and tricking on the grass and low walls, others were striding, plyo-ing and gliding over obstacles all over the place. The grippy fountain and walls make for endless fun. The huge area easily held the group without even seeming crowded, giving people plenty of space to train simultaneously.
We broke for lunch / headed to location 2 - the temporary Parkour Park that APK constructed at Garfield Park in Southeast DC. We've shot videos and photos before at Garfield due to the super-cool graffiti- mostly by our friends at Urban Artistry who also painted Primal's main wall. The area was perfect for training and jamming as we had a huge variety of moveable obstacles and all the space we needed to set them up in endless combinations. We had a permit for the park, the first that we know of issued by a city's Parks and Rec department for a Parkour Jam, which meant we could train there unhassled for the entire day! We also used the playground structures which are actually built for adults - the same things you see for kids, cargo nets, monkey bars, swings, etc - just bigger and more of them. Under the freeway people set up some incredible runs and did fluid combinations over the sea of obstacles. Once again, the girls form Vita Coco kept everyone hydrated and refreshed! As the day wound down, we did a LNT cleanup of the entire park - which gained us very positive recognition from the local Park Organization (see quote at bottom). The day went off without a hitch, tons of jamming, photos and videos, no injuries, no complaints from neighbors, and of course we left it cleaner than when we started: a huge win for Parkour as we can use this event as an example and model for future events with Parks and Rec departments. It's also worth mentioning that we had an insurance policy specially for this event, and that will go a long way towards working with insurers both for the practice and coaching of Parkour and Freerunning.
Saturday night we headed back to Primal Fitness where Skipper had setup the big screen for the 6th annual (B)East Coast Film Festival. We packed over 160 people in for the festival where we watched People In Motion and then this year's awesome entries. We've extended voting for 5 more days (see our facebook page and comment to vote!), up for grabs are some cool prizes from American Parkour Apparel, SwiftWick Socks and Vita Coco- not to mention the prestige of winning the only ongoing Parkour and Freerunning Film Festival! Conspicuously missing this year was the demise of the Watermelon, a longstanding M2 tradition - fear not, when we have a high speed camera we promise the destruction will be epic!
Sunday we headed out to Great Falls National Park in Virginia. Great Falls is an incredble natural training spot with miles of huge rocks to run jump and climb on, plus a raging killer river that some folks cliff dive and swim in. The Parks department has actually become pretty tolerant of us as we've been there year after year without incident and leaving a positive impression through our Leave No Trace clean-ups. Many people played on the rocks, swam in the river, some of us did a killer natural workout circuit which included carrying an 80 pound plus log along a downed tree, rock climbing, precisions and some running. We also did a heavy rock throwing workout. Many groups ran across the rocks and played on all the natural terrain, including a very cool game of "lava" on rocks which just barely poked out the water. We played Frisbee, did some tricking, slack-lining, and generally just hung out and had a chill time around the picnic tables. Last year we picked up over 60 bags of trash, which caused quite a stir when the rangers had to move all that trash at night. This year we made sure to be even more helpful by volunteering to help load our trash and all the regular park trash into the carts they bring to the dumping station. They definitely appreciated the help and commended our group.
Monday, the jam continued full force as Cody Robinson brought up a crew from Auburn Alabama and Atlanta, we went to Georgetown in the morning and then setup the park at Garfield again in the afternoon. The southern boys are all over 6' tall and did some outrageous strides and plyos and huge cats to the underside of the bridge.
As everyone left, the gym felt empty. It was a glorious feeling :)
See you all next year!
Photos are courtesy of Emma Howells, Thanks!
The Friends of Garfield Park appreciate the cooperation and care that you used in your event. It is important to the neighborhood; not all groups work with us to make the park a better place. The park was noticeably cleaner this morning, and we do thank you and your group for helping to make that happen. Hopefully the kids can appreciate their efforts to work with each other and the neighborhood. Thanks again for working with us.
President, Friends of Garfield Park