Volunteer Profile: Mark Ahlehuus | 30.08.2012
The experience was so positive that he decided to also help out at the club at which he first developed his passion for athletics, Glostrup IC, where he is not only a board member, but a coach as well.
Mark, who has a degree in Marketing Management, loves tending to the grassroots of athletics and wants to use his skills to increase membership in his two clubs. He has worked to promote both of them in their local communities and has registered no less than seven projects with the European Athletics Young Leaders Community.
One project involves open training sessions where he introduces new runners to different methods of training in order to get them to join Hvidovre AM and another, called OL-Dysten, encourages joggers and road runners to try track events at Glostrup IC.
Mark also has his own blog. If you can read Danish, be sure to check it out at: http://loberliv.blogspot.dk/
With all the time accumulated from his various activities, Mark has earned a European Athletics-UNESCO Bronze certificate for more than 100 hours of volunteering.
We asked Mark a few questions about his life in athletics:
What is your regular occupation?
I am a marketing and personnel manager.
How did you start volunteering in Athletics?
My volunteering started in 2006 as my club, Hvidovre AM, was in urgent need of new leaders. Even though it is a big club in Denmark, it was struggling to find volunteers for board membership. I saw my opportunity to give back to the club by running for board membership.
I have volunteered in many different ways in athletics. In addition to being on the board at Hvidovre AM, I am also a board member for another club, Glostrup IC, where I have been a coach since 2008. By involving myself at Glostrup IC, you could say that I have returned to my roots, as this was the club where I had my first athletics experiences, while Hvidovre AM is the club I currently represent at events.
You are involved in several projects. What do you gain from it?
As a coach and board member in Glostrup IC, I am interested in seeing the club succeed. I love coaching kids in athletics, but my ambitions for the club are high and I wish to see the club expand. It bothers me to see that there is great potential for athletics in Denmark, yet the final membership in the clubs around the country is small compared with the potential members.
What was the inspiration for your open training concept?
I have tried to find ways to use my education in marketing management in sport. Open training is a concept used by many clubs already, but I recognised two challenges that I wanted to try to improve in my version. First, my concept is different as it is delivered as a course, where runners will be introduced to four different methods of training.
The other challenge was to market the concept. I have done this through newspapers, however I would have preferred to market it through the internet, as the results from marketing research show that 75% of the runners use the internet to gain information about running.
Tell us about the OL-Dysten project. What is your role?
I am the project manager. The project is an event created to get road runners to try track events. It was my final exam towards my Degree in Marketing Management, and I treated it as an academic project. During the planning of this event I spent time making a market analysis of running and athletics. The final product was a marketing plan for the event, which contained internal and external analysis, budgeting and marketing. The results from my research can, and will be, used for many of my future projects.
What is next for you?
I am trying to create a new training group in Glostrup IC for regular runners. I have also considered the thought of separating training groups into beginners and advanced, as is common in most sports. We should research the wants and needs of potential members and do our best to meet them in the future. One of the biggest challenges in amateur sports is that you compete with professionals and we must respond to this.
To see Mark’s profile click here.
Are you a member of the European Athletics Young Leaders Community and doing volunteer work in athletics? Be sure that the club, event or school where you are working is registered as a partner, or that your personal project is registered, so you can log your hours and your valuable contribution to the sport can be recognised.
Certificates are now being sent to members of the community (Bronze for 100 hours, Silver for 250 hours and Gold for 500 hours) and athleticscommunity.org will be publishing spotlight profiles of many of the winners in the coming weeks and months.
For more information on the European Athletics Young Leaders Community, click here.