Community running coach Mark Edmonds awarded Queen Service Medal

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Rotorua fitness coach, Mark Edmonds, has for many years served his community by training hundreds of athletes, throughout the Bay of Plenty. Today, his service has been recognised as he was honoured with a Queen Service Medal.

An unsung running and fitness coach, being honoured for his work. Edmonds says, “Fitness is a passion of mine being an ex-marathon runner, took it up with my children really and my wife, then others start bringing their kids thinking I was a coach I said I'm not a coach. Then I started to specialise.”

At 75 years old, he still runs voluntary training sessions every Monday and Wednesday at a local park in Rotorua.

He says, “Now I'm training, the ones I coached when they were young, I'm training their kids.”

For over 30 years Mark Edmonds has been a running coach for young athletes. A number of them, from multiple codes, have gone on to represent NZ.

He says, “There's another young girl started coaching her when she was 10 year old as a runner she's 19 now she's a Football Ferns the New Zealand Football Ferns, she went to the Olympics.”

Regardless of those who've made it, Mark Edmonds says the biggest reward comes from helping those who need it most.

“I've been asked a few times who's the biggest thrill to me who's achieved and they think I might say an All Black or someone. It's not, they've got it already you're just there to help them. It's the ones that can't do much they have to walk for the first two weeks something like that, and then they start running,” says Edmonds.

Mark says he'll keep doing what he loves as long as he can.