Norway's Rune Osa: Double Gold Volunteer | 03.06.2012
|Rune Osa (r) receives the European Athletics-UNESCO
Gold Certificate from Norwegian athletics federation
general secretary Kjetil Hildeskor.
"I am fine, but I am stressed," says Rune Osa, the Director of the Florø Track & Field Festival, Norway's second most important meeting after the Bislett Games in Oslo. "Our meeting is this weekend and there is so much to do."
"In a few minutes I have to go back to the track to take care of some things, but it will only take a little time."
Taking a little time for athletics is what Rune Osa has done more or less every day since the early 1990s, when he and his wife Oddfrid became involved with their local club, Florø Turn & Indrettsforening, in support of their two daughters' interest in the sport.
Since then, he has worked across a range of capacities, spent most weekends travelling around the country for competitions or organising events at home in Florø, Norway's most westerly town, received the Norwegian athletics federation's highest award for volunteer service and become, according to federation president Svein Arne Hansen, "the country's most knowledgeable volunteer in all aspects of athletics."
In February 2011, Osa, now 57, joined the newly launched European Athletics Young Leaders Community and registered his club as a community partner on the community website. "As the club leader, I was interested to see if there was anything for our members and also to count how much time I was working for athletics," he explains.
It was not long before he was eligible for the European Athletics-UNESCO Bronze Certificate for giving 100 volunteer hours to athletics, then the Silver Certificate for 250 hours. He then became the first member of the community to register 500 hours and become eligible for the Gold Certificate.
But it did not stop there. While he has been waiting to receive his certificate in a ceremony at the opening of this year's Festival, Osa has continued with his athletics lifestyle, racking up more and more hours to the point where his total is currently more than 1,100, making him the community's first double-gold member.
"I am not surprised at all," says Hansen. "Rune is the most dedicated and hard-working guy you can imagine. He really likes being with young people and helping them develop as athletes and individuals. He is an inspiration for every volunteer in the sport."
"Both his club and his meeting are big parts of the society in Florø. I am happy that our federation and European Athletics can give some support to the meeting because he and his team do a very good job."
When asked why he puts so much into time to the sport, Osa explains that "athletics gives me and my family a lot. I enjoy coaching teenagers four or five times a week and going with a group for 14-day training camps in Gran Canaria every year. There are so many other good things that I can't really say what is best about it."
Looking at the Young Leaders Community, Osa says he is encouraging other volunteers in his 850 member club to join and that after things calm down from this year's Festival, he would like to explore how taking on projects might help both the club and the individuals involved.
"Our club has a lot of different activities, including the Festival, training for the younger age groups, about 100 members doing fitness exercise, cross country runners and elite athletes taking part in the national team."
One of his first targets for membership might well be Oddfrid, who he says works as hard for Festival as he does.
Could she become the community's double gold woman?
"Probably", says Hansen, adding that "if half the towns had someone like Rune and Oddfrid, I am sure athletics would be the biggest sport in the world."