Kez and Nicole stared incredulously at me over their full English breakfasts. This was the first time I’d seen my friends since I’d ruined their vacation (by making them run 2 parkruns). It was around 11.30am, we were sitting, cold and muddy in a pub, and I’d just finished ruining their New Year’s Day (by making them run 2 parkruns).
We’d taken advantage of the parkrun decree that on this one day of the year, runners are permitted to ‘double up’ and run 2 parkruns; the density of events in the UK is such that often runs in neighbouring towns will stagger their start times to allow runners to complete their double.
While most ‘normal’ people our age were still nursing hangovers from the previous night’s indulgences, against Kez and Nicole’s better judgement we had now completed 2 x 5km well before noon. But now my particular brand of parkrun enthusiasm seemed to be descending into fantastical hallucinations, as I maintained that I recognized the woman sitting on the next table from my home parkrun in Canada, Richmond Olympic.
The odds were stacked against my being right – hence the incredulous looks. Richmond Olympic is only just over a year old, 7000km from where we were sitting, and to this day, fewer than 900 individuals out of the 4+ million registered parkrunners in the world have completed it. The lady in question was of average height and medium build, brown haired and with a fairly neutral accent not at all out of place in this part of the world – she could well have been anybody. But I was sure that this was Louise Ayling before me, and I remember being impressed with her hilarious account of Nose Hill, featuring lines such as ‘whichever evil mind devised that ending to the course deserves shooting.’
And you know what? It was her! Louise had visited Richmond Olympic in July 2017, coincidentally 1 week after Kez and Nicole had been there. And by way of another strange happenstance, that morning she had also run my former ‘home’ parkrun, 1km from where I used to live!
Well there doesn’t really need to be one, but if pushed, I’d summarize as follows:
Aha! You’re probably wondering what happened to the protagonists of this slightly odd modern day fairytale, right?
by Becky Maybury
Richmond Olympic Event Director
I took the month of June off to travel the country from Ontario to Salt Spring Island, one of the gulf islands in B.C. As a director for the Beach Strip parkrun in Hamilton Ontario my first job was to ensure our events would continue. While Stephan and I share the director duties, our…
J’ai pris le mois de juin de congé pour voyager dans le pays de l’Ontario à Salt Spring Island, un des golfes à la Colombie-Britannique. En étant directeur d’événement pour le parkrun de Beach Strip à Hamilton en Ontario, ma première préoccupation était de m’assurer que notre parkrun allait continuer. Pendant que Stephan et…