10 Famous Free Runners: Unleashing Urban Acrobatics

Famous free runners

Freerunning is an athletic discipline combining acrobatics, parkour, and artistic expression. Since it’s become more popular, let’s look at famous free runners. 

Freerunning has captivated audiences around the world with its blend of athleticism and artistry. Derived from parkour, which focuses on efficiency and speed, freerunning emphasizes the aesthetic aspect.

While many extraordinary athletes have emerged in the freerunning scene, some names stand out for their impressive talent and style. Dimitris Kyrsanidis, Lilou Ruel, and other notable free runners have not only pushed the limits of human capabilities but have also inspired others to explore the sport.

As we delve deeper into the exciting world of freerunning, we will learn more about these exceptional athletes and the gravity-defying feats they perform, highlighting their contributions to this ever-evolving discipline. By showcasing their dedication and mastery of freerunning, we hope to capture the imagination of enthusiasts and newcomers alike. Check out our list of inspirational running quotes for some motivation. 

Pioneers Of Freerunning

1. David Belle

Famous free runners
His performances were both athletic and artistic, eventually leading to the development of freerunning

David Belle, a French athlete, is considered the founder of parkour, from which freerunning evolved. Born in 1973, Belle started practicing his craft early in life, influenced by his father, a former soldier, and gymnast. Frustrated with traditional sports, he sought a way to incorporate the physicality of movement with creativity and freedom.

In the late 1990s, Belle started to gain recognition for his daring and innovative stunts in urban settings, including climbing walls, jumping between rooftops, and vaulting over railings. His performances were both athletic and artistic, eventually leading to the development of freerunning.

2. Sébastien Foucan

Another pioneer in the world of freerunning is Sébastien Foucan. Foucan also hails from France and is an accomplished athlete in his own right. He began his journey alongside Belle as they practiced parkour together, but he eventually branched out.

In his quest to create a more artistic and expressive form of parkour, Foucan founded freerunning. His vision emphasizes personal expression, creativity, and fluidity, rather than focusing on efficiency and speed. Foucan has participated in and popularized the sport through various media appearances, including films and documentaries, resulting in a global following of freerunning enthusiasts.

Popular Freerunners Today

3. Ryan Doyle

Ryan Doyle is a well-known freerunner who has gained recognition for his unique blend of martial arts and parkour. With his dynamic and fluid movements, he has gained a massive following on social media and has inspired many budding freerunners. 

As a pioneer in the sport, Doyle continues to push the boundaries of what is possible with his impressive feats and creative approach. He has also won the Red Bull Art Of Motion competition twice.

4. Tim Shieff

Tim Shieff
His athletic abilities have garnered him numerous awards

Tim Shieff is an accomplished freerunner best known for his appearances on the television show American Ninja Warrior. One of his career highlights was winning the 2009 Barclaycard World Freerun Championship.

He’s also an advocate for a healthy lifestyle and has become a prominent figure in the vegan community. His athletic abilities have garnered him numerous awards and sponsorships, and he remains dedicated to promoting freerunning as a healthy, sustainable sport.

5. Sydney Olson

Sydney Olson is a stuntwoman, freerunner, and parkour enthusiast who hopes to encourage more women to partake in the sport. In 2019, she appeared in the Bound By Movement documentary, which followed the journeys of several prominent parkour athletes. 

That year, she also won the women’s title in the Red Bull Art Of Motion event. You might be interested in our guide on famous female triathletes

6. Pavel Petkuns

Pavel “Pasha” Petkuns, also known as “Pasha the Boss,” is a Latvian-born athlete who has earned a reputation for his impressive and daring freerunning performances. With numerous victories in international competitions, including three Red Bull Art of Motion wins, Petkuns has proven to be a formidable and influential force within the community. His distinct style, often showcasing gravity-defying flips and precision jumps, continues to inspire and entertain fans across the globe.

7. Dimitris Kyrsanidis

Dimitris Kyrsanidis
Kyrsanidis has played a large role in the increase in popularity

Dimitris Kyrsanidis has made his mark as one of the world’s best free runners, securing multiple victories in renowned competitions like Red Bull Art of Motion. As he documents his runs on social media, Kyrsanidis has played a large role in the increase in popularity.  

8. Lilou Ruel

Lilou Ruel is a French free runner whose athletic journey began when she was only nine years old after discovering parkour. Her hard work paid off; having competed in her first Red Bull Art of Motion event when she was 16, she went on to become the first-ever woman to pull off the Manpower Gap. The stunt entails jumping between two buildings in Evry, France, which are six stories high and 15 feet above the ground.

She was also the 2021 Freerunning World Champion and won the Red Bull Al-Andalus. 

9. Alexander Titarenko

Alexander Titarenko is a Ukrainian freerunner best known for winning the 2017 Red Bull Art of Motion. Titarenko was largely unknown before the competition, and the win put him on the map. In 2019, he placed third in the FIG Parkour World Cup.

10. Hazal Nehir

Hazal Nehir is a Turkish freerunner who accidentally discovered parkour at the gym and found it changed her life. In 2019, she took part in the Red Bull Art of Motion event and came first in the Women’s Speed Run at the Lion City Gathering. Two years later, she was a nominee for the Taurus Women’s Stunt Awards. 

Influential Freerunning Teams


Storror is a UK-based freerunning team comprising seven athletes who have been training and performing together since 2010. They gained international recognition through their YouTube channel, where they showcase their impressive skills, creativity, and fearless approach to urban exploration. Their innovative videos and passion for freerunning have inspired a new generation of athletes.

Team Farang

Team Farang is an international freerunning team co-founded by Shaun Wood and Anan Anwar in Thailand. The team boasts an array of talented athletes coming from diverse backgrounds, including parkour, martial arts, and gymnastics. 

They are well-known for their clothing line, which reflects their dedication to promoting the spirit of freerunning. With their strong team dynamic and distinctive style, Team Farang has become a major influence in the freerunning community.

Team Traceur

Team Traceur is one of the pioneering freerunning teams in the UK. Established in the early 2000s, they played a crucial role in popularizing the sport in the country. Team Traceur has worked closely with various organizations to create events and workshops aimed at fostering skill development among aspiring freerunners. 

This article was researched with the help of OpenAI and fact-checked and edited by our human editor.