My Workout: Shirley Darlington

My Workout: Shirley Darlington

“Eight years ago, I assumed I’d never be able to do parkour. I wasn’t that fit and I tried it out with a friend, never expecting to engage with it. But I did. It’s simply about moving your body from one place to another, under and over obstacles, running, jumping and climbing.

It quickly changed the way I viewed my environment: everything around me became a potential parkour challenge. Council estates usually make the best locations but anywhere, with benches, walls, rails and bollards is good. When I started, my balance was poor, so three times a week before work I would walk across a pair of railings. Doing that really helped.

I was going through a difficult time and struggling to find motivation and inspiration. The appeal was seeing how quickly I was able to do things, like scaling a wall. I remember thinking, “I can’t do that”, but the coaches are good at breaking down the technique (“Focus on your foot placement, put your hands on the wall, push off and chest over”) so you don’t think about the end result.”

Shirley Darlington is an inspiration to many. Read more about her training methods and recommendations for starting out in parkour in the Guardian.