A quick look at what went down at the last freerunning event of 2017 - JUMP Freerun's annual 4 The Love of Movement: Winter Edition.
The freerunning community has regularly been descending on Den Haag in the Netherlands for years now. While many of us sit confused in a bit of a weird timeless bubble between Christmas and New Year, the organisers of 4TLOM had their shit together and were hosting the fourth iteration of their increasingly popular three day winter festival of training!
The event ran from the 29th of December to the 30th, and featured a sportshall sized setup of almost everything you could possibly want. Loads of scaffolding, trampolines, wooden blocks, an airtrack. For €110 attendees could train on the setup, attend various workshops by renowned athletes, find a place to sleep in the hall, and receive five meals. Oh, and of course receive an event t-shirt to add to their ever growing collection.
The international crowd was out in force, with people showing up from as far afield as San Francisco and Boston! Valtteri made the journey out there, as well as Pedro Salgado and Phosky to name just a few. As always there was a massive british contingent; with the Motus Projects lads making an appearance, along with most of Storm Freerun, Jaydn Clark, and Art of Motion finalist Ed Scott. In total there was around 500 attendees!
There was also two Instagram video contests - an international one, and one for anyone from the Netherlands to enter. The top three entries from each would win free entry to the event, and first and second would get some of, or most of their travel covered too. The athletes had to post their clips to Instagram, tagging @jumpfreerun, and demonstrate ‘proper technique, creativity, control and flow’, not using crash mats or soft floor.
The winners of the international contest were; Aaron Hernandez from Spain in 1st, Krystian Kowalewski from Poland in 2nd, and Defo Torres from Spain in 3rd. The winners of the national competition were Joachim Dinkelman, Luciano Balestra, and Jaap Oosterom in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively. Click on any of their names to open their Instagram pages in a new window. Congratulations to them all - I have always felt little competitions like that are a nice touch, and make events feel much more personal and community driven.
By most accounts it was a pretty wild couple of days; with some mad training going down during the day, and some pretty serious partying going down by night. What a way to round off the year! The set-ups were pretty crowded, but that didn’t stop some gnarly stuff from being thrown down. Check out this well produced video by Bermuda Freerun!
You may have been able to spot a few familiar faces in that video; there was Elise Bickley - winner of the first ever women’s Air Wipp Competition, throwing some really nice stuff like that steezy back-out looking double sideflip.
And while we’re on the topic of side flips, rapidly rising star Ed Scott hit this massive line, where he sprinted up to a ramp and side flip precisioned up onto a higher wall, straight into a catpass. It looked seriously impressive. He didn’t stop there though, with his swanky tsukahara-fulls and solid parkour movements he’s set to have a massive 2018.
Max Barker also stunned the room by cleanly sticking a side flip precion to a 2.5m high up rail. An unbelievable feat of spatial awareness that no one else at the event managed to replicate - but that certainly wasn’t for lack of trying!
There was plenty of casual fooling around as well though. One of the things that’s so great about community events like this is that you get to see the collision of many styles that wouldn’t normally meet. Things get creative when ideas start bouncing around between people who have very different ideas when it comes to movement. It’s like watching scientists mixing up something new in the lab in real time! Some of Valterri’s posts are a great example of this!
By night the bar setup turns into a network of hammocks, and the ground a maze of sleeping bags. It’s great how good the freerunning community is at sleeping a little rough - it’s definitely a distinctive part of our culture. It’s like the ultimate sleepover, especially for the younger guys who may be traveling to an event for the first time. I’ve always found that it’s in the evenings at events like this where you end up having those more interesting conversations, and forging lasting connections with new people.
Who knows how many new friendships were made this year, or how many of the next generation’s beasts were inspired by all that went down over these three days. As a community and as a sport we’re all a lot wealthier for the effort and commitment people like Jump Freerun put into running events like these. 4TLOM is one of the longest running parkour events going, so I’d urge anyone who wants more events like this to look into their model and see what they can learn from it.
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If you like the look of this, keep an eye on the 4theloveofmovement website for updates on the Summer 2018 event - It usually runs in late June or early July, and is a lot more outside, with wonderful stuff like bonfires and beach parties! You can also follow JUMP Freerun on Facebook and Instagram.