A. You are going to listen to an interview with EZ, a ‘free runner’ who started the organization Urban Freeflow. Free runners use obstacles in a town or city to create movement by running, jumping, and climbing. Listen to part 1. Answer the questions.
1 Can you do free running anywhere?
2 Does EZ usually do it alone or with other people?
3 What sport did he do before free running?
4 Why did he take up free running?
5 How many athletes are there in the Urban Freeflow team? What kind of work do they do?
6 How is free running helping youth offenders and schoolchildren? Why do they like it?
1 Yes, but people usually do it in one particular place.
2 He usually does it in a group of about ten people.
3 He was a boxer.
4 Because his life changed (he got married and had a child). He tried martial arts but didn’t like it, and then found out about free running.
5 There are 20 athletes. They work in commercials (= advertisements) and movies, teach in schools, and teach the army and police.
6 It helps youth offenders stop doing ‘bad things’. They think it’s a ‘cool’ thing to do. In schools, where a lot of kids don’t do any PE and maybe have an obesity problem, they also like free running because it’s cool and, as a result, they do exercise.
I = interviewer, E = EZ
I EZ is a free runner who started the organization Urban Freeflow. Free runners use obstacles in a town or city to create movement, by running, jumping, and climbing. Can you do free running anywhere, I mean, for example, if you’re on your way somewhere?
E Yeah, I mean if you wanted to, you could kind of you know do it anywhere, you know if you’re on your way to work you could do it, but generally the people who practise would go to a particular spot and practise there and then and then move on elsewhere.
I Where do you most enjoy doing it?
E The most rewarding for me would be running in London, here, around the South Bank, and we’d do it in a team of maybe ten of us, and just like someone leading the way and the rest following, and just using basic obstacles, like lamp posts and walls and just moving.
I How did you first get into free running?
E My background is in boxing, which I did for about 20 years and I boxed at international level. And I got married and had a kid and had to just change my life around and become sensible all of a sudden. I gave up the boxing and there was a huge void in my life, so I drifted into martial arts, which didn’t really do it for me. And I was looking for the next thing to do and I saw this on TV one day, and I remember sitting in bed watching it and said ‘That’s what I’m looking for’.
I Tell us about the organization Urban Freeflow.
E Well, Urban Freeflow started out as a website, but then we devised a performance team, we have 20 athletes in the team now, eight who are very very high-profile now we’re sponsored by Adidas now. We take care of all sorts of commercials and movies in that sense. We teach as well, we teach in schools, we’ve taught the army and police.
I What do you do with the police?
E The police run these schemes for youth offenders, and they’re trying to get them out of, you know, doing bad things. It’s seen as a very positive thing to do, it’s seen as a very cool thing to do and for the youths it’s very engaging, so that’s what we do for them.
I What about in schools?
E In terms of schools, same again, there’s a big problem in the UK with obesity and kids just aren’t practising anything. They’re not doing any PE, they’re not doing any kind of sport, whereas what we do is perceived as being very cool, and unwittingly they’re taking part and exercising so that seems to be a very positive thing.
B. Listen to part 2. Answer the questions.
What does he say about…?
1 being safety conscious
2 the sense of freedom
3 blisters and sprained ankles
4 a tree
5 gymnastics and football
1 They are very safety conscious when they work in movies or commercials. They don’t take risks. They practise and do things again and again.
2 The sense of freedom is what attracted EZ to free running. You don’t need anything to be able to do it, just a pair of trainers.
3 These are the normal kinds of injuries that people get doing free running.
4 He once fell out of a tree and had to go to hospital.
5 They are sports which can help you with free running.
I How dangerous is free running?
E On the face of it, what we do seems to be quite dangerous, but it doesn’t touch on what we do, we’re very very safety conscious, we work in movies and commercials where safety is paramount, I mean, everything we do is calculated, there’s no risk-taking. If you see a big jump being done, we’d have practised that at ground level thousands of times, over and over and over. I think if anything, the key word for what we do is repetition.
I What attracted you especially about free running? Was it the risk element?
E To a degree, the risk element played a part, but it was more about the sense of freedom, the way to be able move within your environment with no limitations, you know, you don’t need any equipment to take part, no skateboard, or no BMX, you can just, a pair of trainers and I’m ready to go, that was the real draw for me, just the freedom aspect.
I Have you have many accidents since you’ve been doing it?
E If you’re practising this sport, you will pick up the odd scrapes here and there, you’ll get blisters on your hands calluses, which is normal. You might get the odd sprained ankle. Personally, I fell out of a tree once, and fell on my head, which wasn’t very nice and I had to go to hospital.
I Is free running really something that anyone can do?
E It helps if you have a background in some kind of sport, but it isn’t essential, you can start from being a complete beginner. Gymnastics would help, but you could be someone who plays football, or does a bit of running and pick it up straight away. As long as you start out very small-scale take your time, there’s no problem.
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