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Local sport group and local authority collaborate on fitness trail

Perspiration at the Spreemeile in Cottbus


Cottbus is a town in Germany located on the River Spree to the south west of Berlin. It already possessed a much frequented jogging track that runs along the bank of the river. With the approval of the local authority, the project group consisting of private persons and various Cottbus-based businesses planned to install six exercise equipment stations on an initial stretch of the trail in spring 2015.             

The local newspaper, the Lausitzer Rundschau, headed its article on the trail "Break sweat on the 'SpreeMeile' in Cottbus". The River Spree runs directly through the park-like area, which was seen as ideal for the realisation of the project. The objective was to appeal to users of all age groups and fitness capacities - amateur athletes just as much as old-age pensioners. After consultation with the Cottbus Parks Department, it was agreed that the equipment stations should be positioned at distances of 100 - 200 metres apart on a gravelled jogging track and footpath. It was also proposed that each station should have equipment that would enable two or, if possible, three persons to exercise simultaneously. The six stations were all to be located on one side of the river. Assuming all went well, another four to six stations were subsequently to be constructed in a second phase ('Round Two') on the other bank of the river. The two banks would be joined by two bridges, making it possible to use all fitness stations as part of a continuous circuit.


The project sees the light of day

The trail, named the 'SpreeMeile' was opened in September 2015. Holger Kelch, the mayor of Cottbus, praised the privately-financed project designed to install outdoor fitness equipment for the use of athletes and amateurs: "It seems that exercise, particularly in the fresh air, not only keeps body and mind in shape but can also help generate unconventional ideas. Apparently it was during a cycle tour along our lovely River Spree that the initial concept for the 'SpreeMeile', which we are inaugurating today, was born. It was in the brain of Gerd Mielke, whose day job is to build houses, that this notion first took shape and he decided to look for others to support his undertaking to construct an outdoor fitness trail with unusual exercise equipment along the banks of the Spree," added the jubilant Holger Kelch.

The first to test their stamina and agility along the trail were members of the Cottbus callisthenics club with their chairman Gordon Bieling. They were delighted by the versatile combination of equipment financed by the private property management company 'Gebäudewirtschaft Cottbus GmbH'. Indeed, the company's initials GWC served to provide the catchphrase used to characterise the 'SpreeMeile' - Good health and Well-being through Callisthenics", acknowledging the fact that the largest landlord in the State of Brandenburg is not just concerned with ensuring that the residents of Cottbus have a roof over their heads. GWC is active in many of the social, cultural and sport-related endeavours in the urban area.

Boards have been mounted at each station that show how the equipment can be employed and in each case there are three difficulty levels. During the first construction phase, a total of five stations with seven pieces of equipment were put in place that can be used for intensive power training but also less strenuous coordination, flexibility and mobility exercises.

"The equipment is suitable for all age groups," explains Dr. Jens Paulig, "and users can vary the exercises they carry out." The Cottbus-based orthopaedist was, together with rehabilitation centre Reha-Vita boss Christian Seifert and Gerd Mielke, director of the Quattrohaus property management and construction company, one of the initiators of the project. The construction of the first five fitness stations with the seven exercise devices cost some €35,000. The money was mainly donated by local businesses but also by private individuals. The local authority placed the site at their disposal and collaborated with the Cottbus municipal sport group when it came to the realisation of the project.

The additional sections of the SpreeMeile are to be completed in 2016. Here the intention is to install specially designed equipment for the use of people with special needs. The group welcomed ideas and proposals for the project on their website at www.spreemeile.de. In 'Round Two', the organisers are continuing their efforts to produce the next four fitness stations, each of which is to have two pieces of equipment. As before, they are relying on the generosity of businesses, institutions and private persons to provide for the consummation of their plans for the fitness trail.


Text and image: Play-Parc Allwetter-Freizeitanlagenbau GmbH





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