By Lyonel Doherty
Two local youth are putting Invermere and Radium Hot Springs on the map with their parkour skills that will be put to the ultimate test this summer in San Diego.
Julien Cameron and Rory Wolfe from Hardcore Parkour in Invermere finished first and second, respectively in their age categories after competing in the ZIG Speed Qualifier event in Calgary on January 21. Two other members of Hardcore Parkour also competed in the contest.
Both Cameron and Wolfe will represent the Columbia Valley at the San Diego competition in June.
Parkour is the sport of moving rapidly through an environment by running, jumping and climbing while navigating obstacles.
“I’m excited and proud of myself,” said Cameron, who trained a lot and worked hard to qualify.
When asked what he finds so passionate about the sport, he said,” I like doing flips, it’s fun and I like the competitions. When I was seven I wanted to try parkour and then coach Lisa (Weppler) was pushing me to do harder and harder things and I was doing so good I just wanted to keep getting better.”
Wolfe, 14, said the qualifier was quite difficult, recalling that he “messed up a few times,” but on his last run he had one minute left to show what he could do, and he beat his previous time.
Wolfe told the Pioneer that he always thought parkour was cool after watching videos, so that prompted him to try the sport. He definitely wants to continue to see how far it will take him. He also wants to try boxing.
Wolfe said you definitely need flexibility to excel in parkour, which demands confidence and body control. He acknowledges the sport can be risky, citing some personal injuries he has suffered. But that’s where a good coach comes in, his mother Chelsea piped up.
Small town Invermere continues to put its parkour gym on calendars, with athletes taking the podium in the last three out-of-town competitions. As a result, with coach Weppler’s commitment and enthusiasm for the sport, Invermere will be hosting its first parkour contest on February 24 and 25 at the Columbia Lake Recreation Centre.
Hardcore Parkour will be collaborating with Edge Parkour from Airdrie, Alberta to bring this event to the valley.
Weppler told the Pioneer that coaching these boys over the years has been incredibly rewarding, adding that all of their hard work has truly paid off, citing the San Diego qualifier.
“I’m eagerly anticipating the journey ahead as their coach.”
Weppler said parkour has been her passion for many years. “Coaching athletes is incredibly fulfilling, especially witnessing them conquer new skills and overcome fears. This experience is one of many that has made me a proud and dedicated coach.”
She noted there has been a rise in parkour’s popularity over the last few years, with more clubs offering classes or focusing exclusively on this dynamic sport.
“Through my coaching experience, I’ve observed its positive impact on building self-confidence, strength, and providing a fun outlet for individuals of any age or body type.”
Weppler pointed out that parkour’s inclusivity is one of the reasons it is such an amazing sport.
For more information on registration for the competition (age 6+) or coaching sessions, contact Weppler at 250-688-7880 or email [email protected].