In the middle of April, a relatively small group of parkour practitioners from Liverpool ran the Liverpool Takeover event, a parkour street competition with a number of challenges based around their city.
Generic Parkour, from Liverpool, hosted a 2-day street training competition, the type that has grown increasingly popular over the last few years.
Takeover events are when an individual or group from the parkour community spends some time compiling a list of challenges in their city. Parkour practitioners will then descend onto the city, trying to complete as many challenges as possible in a set time frame (Typically a day or two.)
We’ve seen these styles of competitions grow over the last few years, with the competitions happening also in Sheffield, Manchester, and York.
I jumped on a call with Matthew from Generic Parkour to ask him some questions about the Liverpool takeover. What went well, and what could be improved for next time?
How Did It Go? How was the Liverpool Takeover?
“It went far better than we could have ever expected to be honest. For our first event, having 11 people competing was more than we could ever wish for really.”
Generic Parkour had developed their own website for the Liverpool takeover, with the aim of updating the scores in real-time, as well as having a comprehensive map of all the challenges.
“With it being a two-day event, Instagram stories are deleted after 24 hours. If you miss a video, someone’s clip isn’t getting marked. People might forget to upload, or the uploads fail. The website aimed to make it easier for people to upload clips, keep track of what they uploaded, and know what challenges they may need to go back and do again.
We had a tracking feature on the website that worked similarly to Google Maps. This showed you where you were in correlation to the challenges. On the day of the takeover, this sadly stopped working. We’ve got that working now.”
Was that a traffic problem?
“No, it was a bug. When it went public, a piece of the code got deleted. We’ve sorted it now, thankfully, but that was frustrating.
Sean’s dad does website development, Martin works in a game design company, and I am a graphic designer, so we just tried to build it. Martin has a server at his house, which we hosted it on. We’ve now upgraded that server to a nicer one so that alleviates the issues of running it.”
“Generic Parkour is me (Matthew), Martin, Keira, and Sean. Liverpool used to be booming a few years ago, but it’s slowly started dying off… It used to be really big. A takeover was the best way to try and bring parkour back to the area.”
What could you of done better?
“We missed out on the spectator feature. Instagram was great for that sort of thing because people who follow you can track your progress.
What we’re working on right now is putting a spectator page in. It will have the athlete’s name and the challenges they’ve completed. You’ll be able to click the athlete’s name and see what challenges they have completed. It will tell you how many are left, and how many are done.
With Sean and I being the front runners, being in the parkour community for years, we aren’t really known. I don’t post anything. We don’t have a huge social presence.”
What went well?
“The designs we did for the posts helped establish us a bit more. A lot of people saw the graphics, and they thought we were a much bigger brand than we were. It got a lot of people interested.”
What about the event being a two-day takeover? Was that a benefit or a hindrance?
“The main issue was, it’s Liverpool. It’s quite far for the Southern athletes to come up to Liverpool. My thought has always been, if you’re travelling somewhere to do parkour that isn’t local to you, one day doesn’t cut it. You’ll spend £100 on a train ticket, 3 hours to get there, 3 hours to get back. You’ll be there for 6 hours for training tops. With it being a 2-day event, you can go and enjoy yourself a bit more. It makes it a little more worth the money.
We had planned accommodation at the Airborn Academy, but insurance-wise, we weren’t able to do it this time around. Hopefully, next time.”
Were you happy with the turnout? Would you like to of seen more people?
“For our first event, the number was amazing. It was the first event we tried to organise, and it went considerably well. We started this towards the end of last year. I would have loved to of seen more people (Like the Sheffield or York takeovers) because it means there is more money in the prize pot, which entices more people to compete.
With there being 11 people, we all branched off into little groups and really got to know the people who were there. We were there with Ed, Tay, the Sheffield lot, and more. It was essentially a mini session, everyone was pushing everyone, which was great to see.”
How many challenges did you have? Were they all done? Or are there some outstanding ones?
“There were 100, with 20/30 challenges that weren’t hit. Ed Scott (The Winner) was pushing so hard but didn’t get them all done. A good bit of feedback we received was to diversify some of the challenges a little more too. That’s why events like this are great. They bring a fresh set of eyes to the spots. As the organisers, we have a similar training style. With everyone coming down, it allows us to gain some feedback to make the next event even better.
There’s scope to develop in the future. There are probably around 400 challenges that we could realistically put in now. It will add diversification, so everyone who trains can have something to do. People see different things at the spot. Having two sets of eyes VS twenty sets of eyes makes all the difference. “
Straight after the event, you asked for feedback. That’s awesome to see. You’re really trying to make this competition stand out, and gaining feedback to make it better for the next time around straight away shows that you’re willing to really work on this to keep it developing in the future.
“Most of the people who came had never trained Liverpool at all. 10 years ago, it was a hot spot. There have been these staple cities before that used to be hubs for parkour, over the last few years, these cities that were huge 10 years ago have slowly dropped off the map.”
When’s the next one? What are the next steps?
“We thought about doing one over the summer, but we’re now going to be doing something different, with another takeover next year.
This summer, we have something unique coming. We’ve had our takeover, and now we want to build on that.
Something we are working on adding to the website is the option to organise and host your own takeover in your city. You can input your information (photos, locations, categories, etc) and our website will generate the takeover map for you.
We also want to add a sponsorship page. Brands can click on a takeover, and enter their details and what they’re wanting to donate to these takeover competitions. It makes a central hub for all takeovers. It breaks down the process easier for people to organise a takeover, as these kinds of events are super stressful to organise.”
Following the conversation with Matthew, we took to Instagram to ask the community for their thoughts on the new wave of takeover competitions that seem to be popping up more frequently in cities across the UK.
There was a general community consensus that visiting places you’ve never trained before, and seeing well-known cities get levelled up was a huge positive for these takeover events (The vast majority of them have happened in well-known cities for parkour, like Sheffield & Manchester).
In the UK, a lot of the competitions happen indoors at parkour gyms and facilities, so having a street-styled competition in the UK, similar to what you see in countries like the Netherlands is a real positive step for the sport in the UK.
Tay, who competed in the Liverpool Takeover, said;
“I love the city element. You get to travel to multiple spots, and it has a real feeling, unlike gym training. It’s a truer representation of how I train. I never had gyms. I learned all my flips and jumps on grass or concrete.”Tay
With the summer approaching, we can expect to see many more takeover events popping up. The Manchester takeover took place a few weeks ago, and the Sheffield one is fast approaching this summer.
We would love to get to some of these events. Let us know if you are hosting a takeover event, and we will be sure to get a member of our team there. You can get in touch with us through any of the links below!