Following Part 1 of her story, here Kate Staples tells us of the drama that dramatically re-shaped her life…

“I was just about to become the first girl to use a 14.5ft pole which would have given me even more height. The Olympic Games were coming and it was a very exciting time”.

But tragedy struck and in a split second Kate’s life and plans had to be re-drawn. “The financial reward and profile raising that came with TV allowed me to pole vault which paid absolutely nothing, in fact it cost me money! So ironically the very thing that allowed me to pursue a life in track & field was also what brought the whole thing crashing down – literally”.

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During training for Pole Axe, Kate fell from the 40ft pole and broke her neck in two places. The outlook was very bleak indeed. But eight hours of emergency surgery, a double fusion and extensive rehabilitation defied the odds and paralysis. But life as Zodiac and an elite international athlete were over.

Kate amazed specialists by making a full recovery and qualifying with Premier Training. She quickly made a name for herself in London as an inspirational PT and worked with a number of celebrity clients. She thoroughly enjoyed  her new life but it was not quite enough.

“I really wanted to set up training environments that could recreate the most fun aspects of athletics camps and Gladiators training that I’d experienced and enjoyed. Not necessarily replicating the intensity, but the fun, camaraderie and the joy of taking part, achieving great results and sharing each others successes.”

After a research trip to California and an intense training programme Kate gained the only qualification in the world to run Adventure Boot Camp and was the first person to bring it to the UK. In 2005 she launched her first camp with Olympic medallist Ray Stevens and over 30 more followed.

The ethos of Adventure Boot Camps quickly struck a chord with the wider public. Not only were the naturally fit and active keen to get involved, but so were those less inclined to sports or gym membership. “We gained a fantastic following with Mums who could spare an hour first thing in the the morning of an otherwise hectic day and really get stuck in!”

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But surely one of the great attractions and keys to retention have been the instructors themselves. Kate is by no means a delegating figurehead. The busy mother of three rises at 5am to lead camps! “I love it and surely there’s no better way to lead and encourage than by getting out there and doing just that. Our groups become like jolly families and I love getting to know everyone and finding out how to get the best out of them to help them achieve their goals.

But how could she replicate her knowledge and style and ability to achieve results across multiple groups? Easy – just call in arguably the greatest athlete of all time and add top drawer trainers fully attuned to Kate’s methods and style of presentation and motivation.

Daley Thompson won everything in athletics including two Olympic gold medals and went nine years unbeaten in all decathlon competition. He simultaneously held every title available to him as well as the world record for good measure! Yet despite his achievements and worldwide fame Daley is also happy to roll his sleeves up and can often be seen leading a team of Adventure Boot Campers during the early hours of the morning.

“Daley is inspirational. If he just sat still in a chair he’d still energise those around him. But he’s genuinely out there taking groups of all levels. How many people can say they started their day being trained and entertained by one of the greatest sportsmen of all time?”

Kate and Daley lead from the front and they also run activity holidays overseas. “We’ve run camps in St. Lucia, Greece, Mauritius and numerous in La Manga, Spain.

But it’s certainly not all about the adults. Far from it. Kate and Daley have also joined forces to launch and run Daley Thompson Athletics Academies. These operate in schools and are designed to be engaging and energising whilst getting the children to embrace running, jumping and throwing.

They will fire the passion in any budding athletes and for the less sporty they act as an entirely fun energy releasing activity.

Perhaps fellow athletics legend and Chairman of the British Olympic Association Lord Sebastian Coe said it best; “Today’s children are the least active generation in history and could be the first to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.I welcome any initiative that encourages more young people to become active. The Daley Thompson Academies offer a fantastic opportunity for young people to get fit , develop skills and to have fun within schools and local communities.”

High praise and a ringing endorsement indeed. Their aim is to get schools, children and whole families involved. “We’re parents too and reaching upcoming generations is hugely important to us. Daley works tirelessly with kids and we want to carry our message of activity, fun and health to as many as possible. Ingraining good habits early will bring a lifetime of pleasure and benefits.”

But whilst Kate, Daley and their team are determined to reach youngsters and give them the best possible start to a lifetime of active and sporting fun, she is quick to point out that it is never too late to start and many of their Boot Campers are older and often new to working out. “It’s such a thrill to see them come along with perhaps a little trepidation and then watch that dissolve and see it replaced by enjoyment, enthusiasm, team bonding and great results”.

With an emphasis on fun, obstacle courses, games and hiking all feature in the workouts alongside much else. “The term Boot Camp carries some stern and militaristic overtones to some and the press has not always helped in that regard. But stomping, shouting, barking orders and taking people to their physical breaking point is not the Kate Staples way for adults of children. Quite the opposite in fact and the results speak for themselves.

Their other key aim is always to provide great value. And this they clearly do with a weeks boot camps or a term’s worth of Academy sessions costing no more than some London based single PT sessions!

And with Charity Camps working in communities and placing 100% of money raised with local good causes, Kids initiatives and Corporate Programmes for stressed out business people,  Kate’s vision to make group fitness fun, effective and applicable to all, originally conceived from a hospital bed when facing the prospect of paralysis, has become a fantastic reality.

To find out more about joining a boot camp, involving a school in Daley Thompson Athletics Academies, or if you are a fitness professional interesting in joining the team, visit  www.fitnesscamp.co.uk & www.daleysacademy.co.uk

 

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