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An Interview with Free-Runner Tim Shieff, the Winner of Red Bull’s Art of Motion London 2011

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Team Storm‘s Tim Shieff took first place at Red Bull‘s ‘Art of Motion‘ free-running event last weekend. It was Red Bull‘s first free running event in the UK, taking place on London’s South Bank at the National Royal Theatre.

FACTORY311′s Megan Fell interviews Tim Shieff.

Megan: How did you get into free running?

Tim: I started off as a break dancer, I did that for a number of years and then I saw the documentary Jump Britain. I thought it looked really good so I googled it and looked up some stuff on the internet and got into that way. I then joined a team and its continued and grown.

Megan: I read that you were going to go to University, but changed your mind and took up free running full time. Was that a hard decision to make – what provoked it?
Tim: I was going to do Maths and physics at Uni. But, I decided I would much rather have a career in sports and something that I love doing. I do enjoy Maths but Free Running is my passion.

Megan: How did you manage to turn you passion in to a living?
Tim: Well, I joined a team and we travelled around a lot, free-running and competing. In 2009 I left that team, and with a group of others we formed Storm. It’s definitely a slower process, establishing yourself and starting again. The moneys not as good…but it’s something I really enjoy so it’s worth it.

Megan: You are from Derby, is free running popular in Leicestershire?
Tim: There are some great locations in Derby, but its not that big. London is probably the best location, I’m always in London. I was supposed to move to London last week!

Megan: Where is the best course you have ever competed on?
Tim: The best course was at Red Bull‘s Art of Motion in London. It was a big event and they had taken the time, and money, to build an excellent course. They had also done loads of advertising around it – so there was more of a buzz.

Megan: How often and where do you train?
Tim: I try to train every day. If I’ve got work on or a competition I’ll have a few days rest before, but I like to get out every day. We can basically train anywhere, but I prefer quieter areas. Not in the centre of towns when there’s lots of people around. In the winter, when the weather isn’t as good we use the gym to train in, doing lots of gymnastics.

Megan: You flew out to Italy for the Guiness Book of World Records, what was that all about?
Tim: They set out ten bars, each 2.3meters apart and 40cm high, we then had to do 10 jumps in a row in the quickest time. I am now the world record holder, I did it in 6.36seconds.

Megan: With the Olympics coming up, do you think Free-Running will ever be recognised as a sport?
Tim: I don’t know, I don’t think it ever will if I’m honest, people think its a stupid and reckless sport, but its not when it’s done properly and you train appropriately.
If it were ever to be considered as an Olympic sport, I think they would need to set up a course and it would be whoever completed it in the quickest time – like a race.
There’s two aspects to Parkour: Efficiency, so doing it quickly and then the pretty tricks. I think it would be the efficiency aspect that would make people recognise it as a sport.

Megan: Well done on the win on Sunday, has it got a bit different now, with people recognising you in the street, following you and all that?
Tim: People are starting to recognise me now, so it has got a bit different, yeah!

You can find Tim Shieff and his team mates at Storm Free Run.

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