Student Stuntmen

A French import has college hipsters going head over heels, but some campus cops think it's a little too fly

Andrew Kornylak / Aurora

Max Calder,practicer of Parkour, jumps a big gap and rolls out of the landing to absorb the energy of impact and to preserve forward momentum in this time-exposure.

What would possess seemingly sane people to treat concrete walls like trampolines? To leap over handicap-access ramps like Donkey Kong? The answer is parkour, a jaw-dropping hybrid of gymnastics and cross-country running that is equal parts Spider-Man whimsy and hard-core stamina. The word is derived from the French term for obstacle course, and like it or not, U.S. college campuses are becoming hot spots for this exhilarating new breed of steeplechase--horse-free and adaptable to any setting. Google parkour, campus and map, and you'll find, among some 58,000 results, an annotated parkour map of the University of California at San Diego and...

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