A week ago we got word that Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, would be visiting Birdsville. I assumed he was coming because he needed to restock his supplies of the Birdsville Bakery’s famous camel pies, but apparently there is some new you-beaut fibre optic cable going in which was slightly more important. Anyway, with such a momentous occasion just around the corner, I got to thinking about how to get the PM to come Running for Bums with me. Because clearly that’s what you do when the PM is coming to town, and there’s a 99% chance that you’ll get a minute with him.
Whilst most people like to refer to the Prime Minister as, well, Mr Prime Minister, I prefer something a little more casual – Big Boss, Mal or Top Dog are all suitable options I feel. Clearly I am not attempting to get millions of dollars of funding from him, or relying on him to fund my next holiday, otherwise I may have gone with Mr. PM to be on the safe side. On a side note – just in case he is reading this, I have no issue if he wants to fund my next holiday.
Anyway, I digress.
Back to the idea of how to get him to join me Running for Bums and spread the very important message of Bowel Cancer. I decided that the most direct way would be a simple invitation handed to him whilst he was in town. There’s not many opportunities to bypass all the personal aids and parliamentary postal protocol, so I had to make hay while the sun shone, or however it goes.
When it comes to garnering the support of well known people for a fundraising adventure, it can be like pulling teeth. You need to find a way to stand out by doing something different; or by coming at the target from a little left of centre. Yes – I had a target on the PM’s back (clearly not a real one, or his buddies with bum bags would of been onto me before I’d got in the door). I like to think big when it comes to building the media interest in Running fro Bums for the simple fact that the bigger and more widespread I can get it, the more awareness it is going to build for Bowel Cancer Australia. And apart from the Hemsworth Brothers, who could I get that comes with a bigger media pack than the PM. Target acquired.
However, with the opportunity to personally hand Australia’s Prime Minister an invitation, also came the daunting task of how to word said invitation. Too formal and it won’t be very Jenna-ish, and too informal; well, is there such a thing. I think you can see where I am headed with this. I got to writing on the weekend and came up with something that started of simply enough;
The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP (aka Big Boss of Down Under)
I felt the need to be familiar enough with Mal so as to seem like a semi-ok person to spend an hour with on the road, but still reserved enough that I didn’t seem like a total lunatic & scare the big boss off.
As you can maybe imagine, I have a unique way with words and it was only a matter of time until I threw the idea of being reserved out the window. Being reserved never won me any awards, so why start now I figured. Without giving away the entire invitation that is only between myself and Mal, and probably his half dozen aids, and maybe everyone else on his plane yesterday, here are a few of my unique phrases from the invitation;
“…so if running isn’t your thing, we can always walk, or we can grab a shopping trolley and I’ll push you…”
“I also want to stipulate that there is no need to don budgie smugglers…”
“I understand your close affiliation with the boys in blue, so feel free to bring along the burly chaps with the bum bags if required. I’ll ensure there’s enough tea and cake for everyone.”
“…I’ll get to work on your running shirt – just let me know what name you’d like on it – Mal , PM, Top Dog?”
“Anyone who can address a crowd of drag queens in Birdsville like a boss, will always be a winner in my mind”
“I’m not one to give out my phone number to random strangers freely, but in this case I’ll make an exception for when your people call my people (aka me) to accept…”
So now that the invitation was done it was time to ship out and track down my new running partner. Thankfully he wasn’t travelling alone or he would of been really hard to spot, but with his trusty media pack and numerous important people with him, he kind of stood out on the empty Birdsville street. As we were mustered inside the hotel awaiting his anticipated arrival, the Birdsville Hotel was as full as it has been in a while with people lining the walls wondering which door he would come through (I was personally more excited for the boys in blue – who are not in fact in blue at all – because even though they look like they are trying to blend in, the old bum bags and ear pieces get me every time and I have a little inside giggle).
Then we played the waiting game. With only 20 minutes to make my move I, for some reason, chose to sit back and see if he’d make it around the perimeter of the pub for a hello, or if I’d have to start the chase. I’m fairly certain the words “I’ll chase him down on his way to the plane if I need to” were used. Thankfully, the PM was also travelling with our very own top dog David Littleproud, the federal member for Maranoa, and upon speaking with him and handing him his very own personalised invitation, he pushed through the mob to get me front and centre with the PM. In my haste I have no idea who I gave which invitation to, but as they were on the same plane I figured they’d work it out.
I do however think that our PM has been a bit busy of late. I can’t imaging the schedule that he keeps, as I find the simple act of training once a day enough of a schedule to try and keep on top of, but he did look a little tired as a result of it. I hope it’s ok to say the PM looked tired. Is something considered offensive even if it is true? Maybe he just needed a Berocca. Anyway, he also could of just been confused. You see, standing in front of him was someone who just said they’re running from Tasmania to Cape York – that confuses a lot of people. To his credit though he didn’t miss a beat and quickly responded with “and you want me to come running with you”. I said yes please.
We then got to talking, and my one minute turned into two which was most exciting. He told me about how he used to run with his dad, but that all of their friends were getting knee injuries and that he had never run since. I told him that that was ok and that we could just walk, but that he should read the invitation as it’s all in there – and then as a final comment I said we can always get a shopping trolley, to which he replied “oh that’d be good and you can push me” (or something to that effect). I’d basically hit the jackpot; I’d just told the PM that I’d push him a shopping trolley – nailed it. And with that I skipped out of the hotel after one final comment to David consisting of “now you’ll make sure he reads it won’t you”.
Obviously there’s a lot of time to pass between now and when Running for Bums kicks off, but I reckon the PM won’t forget his invitation in a hurry which is all I can ask for. And if nothing else it’s given me some great content to build media awareness of Running for Bums and Bowel Cancer – and at the end of the day, whether you back our PM or not, getting him on the road with me would be a pretty awesome way to spread the message of Bowel Cancer, and kick it off the list of the top cancer killers in Australia. Plus, I’d really like to push him in a shopping trolley.