Complete Sports Training Center – Providing holistic training for athletes
What sets Complete Sports Training Center apart is that it is a holistic training center.
Shortly after 6 a.m., John heads for the camp gate, ready for the morning run. At 6:15 a.m. he was joined by about 20 other elite runners who live at the Comprehensive Sports Training Center in Kaptagat, a village 25 kilometers east of Eldoret in the ancient Rift Valley, Kenya. At an altitude of 2400m it is ideally located to provide an excellent training environment for elite runners.
What sets Complete Sports Training Center apart is that it is a holistic training center. Founder and former German international runner Bernd Breitmaier explains the concept: “We believe that a human being consists of a body, a soul and a spirit – and one could say in addition to the social dimension . Holistic therefore includes the physical, mental, spiritual and social aspects. We train our staff to support athletes in these four dimensions”.
After the morning run, John and his colleagues have breakfast together. On some mornings, instead of the morning run, they can head to the Eldoret Track for track training. After breakfast there may be a teaching session or just free time or on some days a second training session before lunch. After lunch there is usually a siesta, socializing, laundry, etc. The afternoon can involve a teaching session, mentoring or just spending time together. Athletes also have tasks to perform, like working in the kitchen, collecting milk, collecting firewood.
At 5:30 p.m. there is daily evening devotion and prayer as well as sharing of any information on the day of the program for the following day. Then the athletes help serve dinner – usually ugali and cabbage and maybe some meat. Athletes often linger over dinner, hang out together, and then go to bed early because of the early morning start.
Having struggled after having to end his own career prematurely due to health issues, Breitmaier has a passion for helping other top athletes holistically. Competing in the World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa in 2007 and traveling to Eldoret opened his eyes to the possibility of setting up a holistic training camp and locating it in Kenya.
Breitmaier picks up the story: “We opened in 2012. At that time, there were no training camps offering holistic support to athletes. We invited athletes to a training camp and from these athletes we selected a group of 15 who were based in our training center. A fundamental concept is that we live as a family. We share life, live together 24/7.
“We have a three-step concept in our athlete development program. The first step could be like classroom instruction. The second step is to mentor them with sports mentors individually, to see what their particular needs are. The third step involves the athletes themselves putting something into action.
“Currently, we have nine employees and more than 40 athletes. Living together, eating together, praying together, worshiping together is fundamental to how we support athletes. We share life and take care of each other.”
The Center has a Christian ethic. It has a partnership with inland African churches. There is a church on the grounds and athletes are encouraged to attend on Sundays. Once a month there is a worship service led by an athlete on Sunday afternoon, open to guests. 200 people participated recently.
Athletes who train at the center begin to have success on the national and international stage. The most high-profile former Complete Sports boy is Emmanuel Korir, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic 800m champion.