Barclaycard World Freerun Championships

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The Barclaycard World Freerun Championships (sometimes abbreviated as WFC[1]) are one of the first events within freerunning and parkour to take form as a competition. The 2007 Red Bull Art of Motion predated this format. The championships have largely been organised by Urban Freeflow[2] and designed to create a healthy competition between global competitors, to entertain and spark global interest in the disciplines on show.

The main sponsors are Barclaycard. Minor sponsors are Sony Ericsson, Adidas and EA.[3]

The competition places competitors in a crafted arena of plateaus at varying heights, sizes and distances, as well as a variety of other obstacles such as bars and walls.

Each competitor has a set time to create and carry out a run, the more spectacular with a greater quality of technique, the better. "Flow" and impressive tricking is held within high regard by the audience and judges. At the end of the run, a panel of judges decide on scoring.


2008 competition

Part of the 2008 championships course being set up - view full size

The first championships occurred on the 3rd of September, 2008, at the Roundhouse in Camden, north London.[4] The London location was chosen to represent the UK, and especially the capital, as the current world powerhouse of the discipline, which contains the South Bank, the top hotspot.

2000 spectators watched this event.[5]


For the 2008 Barclaycard World Freerun Championship there was two heats. The first saw all of the competitors completing individual runs of 90 seconds each. The top 10 scoring runners went through to the semi-finals where their scores were reset and again, they had 90 seconds to complete their runs. The top 5 scoring athletes got to the final. The top three made the podium. There was a Trick of the event award. This was chosen from all of the runs during the event and could have been potentially won by anyone who competed regardless of their placing in the event overall.

The contest ended up being three hours long. It was conducted in the atmosphere of a freestyle rap battle, with Kerbie from Urban Freeflow being one of the rappers/presenters. There were a few rap solos throughout the night, the longest being during a delay caused by an accident. In the interval, 'Petebox' provided entertainment with professional beatboxing, performing 'Where's Your Head At' by 'Basement Jaxx' on a loop pedal.


The competitors of the 2008 championships

There were 23 competitors. They hailed from 17 different countries: Austria, the Bahamas, Brazil, Britain, Bulgaria, Egypt, France, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Turkey and the United States.[6]


Other finalists - 4th: Pip "Piptrix" Andersen (GBR), 5th: Billy "Skipper" Hughes (USA)

Judging system

Every competitor was judged on the merits of each of their runs. Each competitor gave a ranking to their other fellow competitors after each set of rounds, and their rank was inversed to create a score, initially out of 22 (not 23, due to an accident to a traceur). The scores given by each judge/competitor were added to create a final score.

The top ten scores in the first round ensured their ten traceurs progressed to the semi-finals. This was done in a similar way, having scores out of 10, then 5, judged the whole way through by all competitors until a winner was chosen.


The judges were all 23 competitors, in a unique, and seemingly extremely fair, system of judging.

Notable events

The world championships got off to a frightening start as the first freerunner, Jorge Manuel Nava Romero, attempted a 12-foot (3.7 metre) drop in the form of an underbar to cat leap on to an eight-foot high wall, but crash-landed on his chin on the top of the wall and tumbled to the floor[8]. The Mexican was carted off to hospital -- minus a tooth and some blood -- where he made a full recovery.

2009 competition


The 2009 Barclaycard World Freerun Championship took place on Saturday 15 August 2009 in Trafalgar Square, London. 7000[citation needed] tickets were available for free through an online prize draw[9], and the final round was broadcast live on BBC Three[10], presented by Reggie Yates and Kirsten O'Brien and commentated by David Croft and Scott Jackson.

The event, presented to the 8000[citation needed] spectators by Dave Berry and Kerbie, consisted of two heats. The first saw all 25 competitors completing individual runs of 60 seconds each. The top 10 scoring runners then went through to the final heat where their scores were reset and again, they had 60 seconds to complete their runs. The top 3 scoring athletes from the final made the podium. One of the main differences from last year's event was the removal of all crash mats.

For a limited time, the BBC coverage of the event is available for UK residents to watch via BBC iPlayer:



The main part of the course

While the performance area showed similarities to last year's, it had been redesigned and the layout changed. The biggest addition was a horse-shoe shaped extension at the front coming towards the crowd with several walls for performing vaults.

Another major change was that all crash mats had been removed, meaning that all tricks had to be performed onto a hard wood surface. To compensate for this the drops were all lowered by around a foot[11]. The walls also had friction pads at commonly used areas to assist the performers with wall tricks.


There were four areas that were scored by the four judges on the panel[12]:

  • Technical Difficulty - Complexity of techniques. This is where the skill levels of the athletes really come into play.
  • Execution - Based on how cleanly the athletes perform overall. This covers the mechanics of the moves, posture, foot placement and ultimately, how clean the landing of any given techniques are.
  • Creativity - Based on how well the athletes use their environment to create movement. We encourage the full use of the course but leave it to the athletes to determine how they choose to do so.
  • Fluidity - How well an athlete makes transitions between moves. The execution of the techniques are obviously very important, but linking those moves together is vital in order to maintain flow.

Each area was scored up to a maximum of 25 points per judge. This means that the competing athletes could have scored up to a maximum of 100 points per judge. Times this by four judges and for any given run, the athletes could have scored up to a maximum of 400 points.

The event was judged by four judges:


Qualifying round


Final round

Victor Lopez (2nd), Tim Shieff (1st) and Jason Paul (3rd)


The champions of the event were[13]

Notable events

  • The first finalist, Gaettan Bouillet, popped his knee from an awkward landing on a 180 loser from one of the platforms, the second trick of his run.
  • The second finalist, George Mayfield injured his ankle at the end of his run attempting a double sideflip from one of the platforms.

2010 competition

The World Freerun organisation have hinted that the championships will continue as an annual event[14]. It is also planned for the 2010 championships to take place in Los Angeles, USA[citation needed], the home-town of competing Team Tempest.

Shortly after the 2009 competition, Ez mentioned that the next championships would be taking place in 6 months time[15]. As of August 2010, this date has passed without the competition occurring, and it has reached one year since the last championships without any news being released about the 2010 event.

External links


  1. "3RUN Forums • Search".
  2. "Barclaycard World Freerun Championship » The Promoters".
  3. "Barclaycard World Freerun Championship » Past Sponsors".
  4. "Barclaycard World Freerun Championship » Blog Archive » A Champion Is Crowned".
  5. "Barclaycard World Freerun Championship » Blog Archive » Barclaycard".
  6. "Free Running World Championships :: Active Outdoors :: Youth Outdoor Activities".
  7. "Barclaycard World Freerun Championship » Blog Archive » A Champion Is Crowned".
  8. "YouTube - Free Running Accident".
  9. "World Freerun Championship: Free Tickets Available | Urban Freeflow ® Official Freerun/Parkour Site".
  10. "BBC - BBC Three Programmes - World Freerun Championships".
  11. "YouTube - Freerunning - World 2009 Press Release".
  12. "Barclaycard World Freerun Championship » Rules".
  13. "Barclaycard World Freerun Championship » Blog Archive » A Champion Is Crowned".
  14. "Barclaycard World Freerun Championship » Blog Archive » Change To International Lineup".
  15. "Well Done Tim! - The Otherground - General Discussion - Urban Freeflow ® Worldwide Freerun/Parkour Site - Message Board - Yuku".