062. Chris and Shirley Darlington-Rowat: Serendipity, family, and relationships

Episode summary


Chris Rowat and Shirley Darlington-Rowat discuss serendipity, coaching, and Chris’s work with the fire brigade. They share their thoughts on raising kids, setting aside time for family, and training and moving together. Shirley and Chris share their current struggles, some stories about their past, and how parkour has affected their relationship.

Serendipity and inspiration

Brian Obeng, knowing everyone, things happening for a reason

Raising their family

Being raised in parkour and movement culture, but supporting other interests. Pressure from parents, rebelling, vs encouraging and exposing movement and parkour


individually and together – Similar vision, complementary styles, work well together. They don’t actually coach or train together too much, but often share ideas and discuss experience after. Sharing allows them both to grow and learn from eachother. Coaching each other both intentionally and unintentionally. Overall coaching direction is personal, individual connections, and steering students based on their own motivations and paths.

London Fire Brigade

Shirley’s thoughts on trusting training, team, fire brigade procedure, making the right decision. Chris’s thoughts on joining the fire brigade, childhood dream. Daily response that people don’t see, emotional intelligence, handling trauma, relying on each other. Shirley, fitting in training, kids, managing schedules, family time.

Family time and training

Finding family movement, training, balancing it all. Effects on kids of having movement parents, kids not being the end of your own interests and hobbies. Involving your kids in your training, gym time, normalizing it.

Story about serendipity (Chris)

accidentally meeting Williams Belle. Getting stuck on the trains, get lost. Williams spent an hour helping them get back, then trained a half hour on their correct platform. Serendipity

Story about serendipity (Shirley):

Discussing Indy’s birth, timing, waiting for Chris to come home

Current struggles

Put a lot of effort into balancing family time, training, etc. Becoming more effective with managing time and training

Parents influence

Buddhist upbringing, the idea of changing yourself so you can change environment, looking inwards

Training during pregnancy and postpartum

How your body changes, how your time and priorities change, and how you need to adjust your training to that. Recovery, rest, taking care of your pelvic floor. Birth requires rehabilitation, listening to your body, there is no timeline.


Story of when they first met, engagement story, photo at the same spot.

Parkour in relationships

positive things, sharing with others. Parkour exposing to intense emotions, can make a relationship very honest and hard to hide. Reveals who you are, strengthens and deepens relationships. Relating to each other and sharing that.

3 words

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Craig: Of course, the final question, three words to describe your practice.

Shirley: I’d say my practice is consistent, playful and adaptive.

Chris: I’m really glad you went first, Shirley, to give me more time to think. I think if I had to choose three words, I was already thinking about what I do and how I train, that sort of thing. But I think the what is the least important part. So if I had to choose three words, it would probably be why, how and when.

Contact and further info

To get in touch with Chris and Shirley, you can find them on Instagram, @chrisrowat and @shirtrix. To learn more about the London Fire Brigade, you can visit their website.

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