Champs Reign Supreme

Bo(u)ld Enough

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Bouldering
is usually done without a rope, over large boulders, at the bottom of a large rock
face, and even on some buildings. If a person falls they will not be seriously
injured, but practice is essential, as is fitness and strength. That is why
Falco is to be found every week, honing his physical and mental skills at the Explo Boulder Cave on the LC De
Villiers Rag Farm at the University of Pretoria. Headed by Ebert Nel, the club
runs every Tuesday and members go climbing in the Jacaranda City on some
weekends.

 

The National Bouldering League (NBL) is currently taking
place and the top climbers from the club are competing at both provincial and
national levels. Falco, who has climbed for four years, is one of the favourites,
but climbing wasn’t always his first passion. He used to be an excellent
runner, even training alongside ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius. Unfortunately,
injury ended Falco’s running career and today he focuses on bouldering,
revisiting his running roots to stay fit for his new sport.

 

FROM RUNNER TO CLIMBER

Falco did athletics at school and at University, but hurt
his back due to intense training on the track, which prompted him to look for
another challenge if he could no longer pursue running. “Climbing became an
adventure then. You don’t have a coach, or too much pressure – it’s just you.” However,
Falco still runs to keep fit. “I run less competitively, but I still do it. I
did a trail run a while back, and that keeps me fit!” He also
does parkour, or free running. “That
is a sport I’ve found that keeps me in top condition through a range of aspects,
from physical condition to knowing how to control your body when you fall from
height.”

 

Having studied
sports science and currently being a third-year BA student in Philosophy and
Psychology, Falco leads a
healthy lifestyle to keep ahead of the climbing competition.
Having
knowledge of sports science and body kinetics, he understands bouldering and
how the body adapts to the route. “Your body has its own strengths and
weaknesses. Of course, forearm strength is a must, but it’s different for all –
some use their feet and some don’t, some use strength while some use
technique.”

 

A
BOULDERING PASSION

“I love the
sport because you arrive with no planning and have to solve a problem right
then and there, with your body. So I educate myself with different training practices and
design my own programmes for what I want to achieve, and I’ve found the best
thing to do to stay fit for bouldering is to cross-train.”

 

While Falco
has a great passion for bouldering, he misses serious running. “I even miss the
anxiety and nervousness before a race, but mainly I miss the fine performance
of running the race itself, feeling strong on the track, and especially how you
push yourself beyond what you thought you were capable of in the last stretch.
It’s a sport where you can truly see how your training has impacted your body.
I just love to perform at my peak.”

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