The Important Visitor from New Zealand
(All characters in this post are completely fictitious).
Bob is a dedicated parkrunner from Whangarei parkrun in New Zealand which, as everyone in New Zealand knows, uses the Maori pronunciation so that Whangarei is pronounced “Fon Gar Ray” and not “Wang gar rye” as many people in the UK would assume.
Nick is the run Director for the Wycombe Rye parkrun in the UK which, as everyone in the UK knows is a place in High Wycombe which is pronounced High Wick Ham and not “High Why combe be” as many people outside the UK would assume.
During the Covid pandemic various members of the Wycombe Rye parkrun and Whangarei parkrun made contact via Facebook and shared many stories together; many people found it interesting that two places many miles apart sounded so similar, Whangarei and Wycombe Rye.
Now Bob was a great traveller and when the time was right he booked a trip to the UK to see some friends in Loughborough, Leicestershire. He noticed that the Wycombe Rye parkrun wasn’t too far away from London’s Heathrow airport and decided to see if he could stop off at the Wycombe Rye parkrun on the Saturday morning before travelling up to Loughborough.
He contacted the run director to let him know. Nick was so excited. He really wanted to meet someone from Whangarei and introduce him to all the Wycombe Rye runners.
So it was that on the Saturday morning at 8:30 Bob turned into the car park at the Wycombe Lido, he parked up and got his car park ticket. Nick had briefed the volunteers to look out for a Bob from Wang Gar Rye in New Zealand. Bob looked around and spotted a volunteer, he walked over and greeted them.
“Hey man, I’m Bob from Fon Gar Ray, I’m looking for a Nick who’s in charge of the why combe be rye parkrun”
The volunteer looked and stared “Fon Gar What? You want a Nick who’s in charge of what?
“Fon Gar Ray, I’m looking for Nick the run director, I’m Bob from New Zealand
“Ah, right, wow, another Bob, that’s, that’s amazing” the penny had dropped, slightly “You want to see Nick the run director, sure, I can find him for you”
The volunteer ran off to find Nick.
“Nick, Nick, there’s a bloke called Bob from New Zealand but he’s not from Wang Gar Rye, he’s from Fan Ar Ray, or something like that.”
“You sure he’s not from Wang Gar Rye?” asked Nick
No, it’s definitely not that, he said Fan Ar Ray, although, to be honest, he might be in the wrong place, he kept talking about “why combes and bees and ryes”
“Well, we’ll have to keep our eyes open for Bob from Wang Gar Rye, he should be here by now and I’ve got a special announcement to make to introduce him, and all these New Zealand Flags to wave. You go and lookout for the real Bob and I’ll go and talk to the other Bob.”
Nick made his way over to see the other Bob.
“Hello Bob, lovely to meet you, you’re here from New Zealand, where from exactly?” he turned his ear to listen carefully to the other Bob’s response
“I’m Bob from Fan Ar Ray parkrun in New Zealand, I’m really pleased to be able to join you guys at the why combe bee rye parkrun, this place looks skux today. He gave a thumbs up at the same time he said Skux.
Nope, Nick thought to himself, not even close; and not only was he the wrong Bob but he was also in the wrong place and now he thought the place sucks. Nick shrugged his shoulders.
“Ok, Bob, well, welcome to our parkrun, you can be our second honoured guest from New Zealand. Look we’ve even got flags!” Nick turned to the box of flags the volunteers were unpacking.
Bob was distracted from what Nick had said and was looking at the flags.
“So, you’ve got some people from Australia here as well have you?” said Bob, nodding towards the flags.
“Australia. You mean they’re not New Zealand flags? Nick exclaimed
“Nope, too many stars mate, and they’re white, not red”
Now that really does skux thought Nick.
It was getting towards briefing time.
Nick got the volunteers to go out on a final hunt looking for the real Bob.
His instructions were clear “He’ll probably look a bit lost and he’s bound to be wearing black”
Everyone in the UK knew that New Zealander’s wore a black t-shirt when in the UK, or the parkrun 100 shirt when they were at parkrun. In the meantime Nick got a message to all the flag wavers to make sure they waved the flag very vigorously when the real Bob turned up, just in case he spotted that the flags had the 6 stars of Australia and not the 4 red stars of New Zealand.
With 15 minutes to go, Nick decided to use the PA system to make a request.
“Would Bob from Wang Gar Rye parkrun in New Zealand please contact Nick the run director as soon as possible, thank you”
Bob took no notice of the announcement; why would he, especially as he was busy introducing himself to the locals and talking about how far he’d travelled from Fan Ar Ray and how skux everyone was looking.
Eventually, for Nick, the time ran out, the real Bob couldn’t be found; the other Bob had made friends with everyone and it was time for the runner’s briefing.
He turned on the PA. “Good morning everyone and welcome to Wycombe Rye parkrun”
Bob looked up. What was Wick Ham Rye he thought to himself?
“I’m afraid we have some bad news and some good news for you this morning. The bad news is that our honoured visitor, Bob from Wang Gar Rye parkrun in New Zealand hasn’t been able to make it here today”
The runners let out a disappointed “ohhh”
“But we have got another Bob who has come all the way from Fan Ar Ray, which is also in New Zealand!”
“Hooray!” yelled all the park runners
“Now as we know New Zealand is a very long way away, even further away than Australia, which is a long way away” said Nick
“Only if you fly via Dubai” shouted out one of the runners
“What?” said Nick
“Or Singapore, or Bali” shouted two more
“But not if you fly via the States” shouted the first person
Nick started to look frustrated.
“Or South America” shouted someone else.
There’s a general murmur of agreement from various other runners and discussion on the various ways people have travelled out east, or west if they went via the States.
“What about Japan?”
Nick took a deep breadth
“Look, OK I grant you, New Zealand isn’t quite as far as Australia if you fly from anywhere in the Americas but it is a long way away from anywhere between here and Australia so we want to thank the other Bob for coming so far to join us today.
“As you know we’ve been in contact with Bob from Wang Gar Rye on Facebook for many months and it’s a shame that he can’t be here, but, aren’t we lucky to have the other Bob replace the real Bob on this special New Zealand themed day”
“What about the Australian flags” asked someone from the front
“Shhhh” said Nick, frowning at the person who asked and giving a stare that meant don’t ask again.
Meanwhile, Bob walked forward and had a word with Nick. Nick shakes Bob’s hand and they have a laugh.
Nick turns to the runners and lifts the microphone to his mouth.
“Special announcement - I’m very pleased to say that we have some good news and no bad news to share with you”
“Hooray” shout nearly all the park runners.
“But what about these Australian flags” asks the person who is not concentrating on the announcements
“Shhhhsss” say a group of runners standing next to him.
“I’ve just been advised that the other Bob from Fan Ar Ray is actually the real Bob from Wang Gar Rye”
The park runners give out another loud cheer, except the runner looking at the Australian flags who who’s still asking what to do with them.
Nick turns to Bob and gives him a wink and a smile then turns to the flag wavers to encourage them to wave the flags faster.
The briefing is finished, and everyone turns to walk to the start line.
Nick and Bob talk to each other on the way to the start line.
“Well Nick, that session was skux”
“Are you sure Skux is a good thing Bob? it sounds like another word that doesn’t mean good”
“Ok Nick, just for you it’s been a really cool day, I just hope I don’t have any more problems like that during my stay in the UK.
“Let’s hope so Bob” says Nick
“Now all I need is someone to help me with directions to “Lou goo ber oooo ga” in “Lei Ses Ter Shire” do you know anyone who can help?”
“To be honest Bob, if I were you, I’d type it into Google”
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(not)parkruns representing Wycombe Rye parkrun: 05/10/2020 – 11/10/2020
39 parkrunners completed 61 (not)parkruns
There were no 'first timers' to (not)parkrun:
But there were Thirteen (not)parkrun Personal Bests:
Steve Hayden, David Morley, Caroline Carter, Mark McCormack, Jo Patterson, Alan D Baker, Martin Daniels, Nicholas Martin, Suzanne Hyde, Stefania Cuccotti, Ally Vincent and Louise Brown.
Well done, everyone!
First three men:
Dominic Reed - Handy Cross Runners (1st, 18:45)
Richard Woodhead - Hazlemere Runners (2nd, 24:10)
Steve Hayden (5th, 26:34)
First three women:
Nicola Walker - High Wycombe Hash House Harriers (HWH3) (3rd, 25:25)
Caroline Bishop (4th, 26:25)
Rachel Marsh - High Wycombe Hash House Harriers (HWH3) (8th, 27:16)