The Masters Games are about mates as much as sport.
Alternating each year between Whanganui and Dunedin, it's Whanganui's turn in 2017 from February 3-12.
And one of the regulars is John Gray, ex Whanganui, now a resident of Canada. He lives on Victoria Island off Vancouver.
While not a slave to sport, the 75 year old likes to keep in shape and the biennial games in Whanganui is a good goal.
John also participates in the annual Times Colonist newspaper-sponsored 10km walk in Victoria each year and says he keeps pretty fit.
"It's not the same as I used to do, it's not competitive but I'm in the pool every few weeks and walk most days."
He likes coming to the games every two years to catch up with friends and family and check out his old home town.
"There are lots of connections plus the games. They are something to work for two to three months out before they start."
He enjoys walking to keep his goal of personal fitness.
"It's very important but I'm not obsessive about it. I do keep reasonably fit."
And in the foreseeable future, he says he'll keep doing what he can.
Born and educated in Whanganui, John was head prefect at Wanganui Technical College (now City College). He earned a psychology degree and later went to Saskatchewan, one of the Canadian prairie provinces to further his education. He also studied in London. He has lived in Canada since 1966.
He will combine this visit to New Zealand with side trips to Brisbane, Sydney and Laos on the way back.
His wife, who is from Reefton, accompanies him at some stage to celebrate Christmas with family.
John usually spends about three months overseas.
It's the friendly side of the Masters Games that's also a bit of a siren call.
"They are quite social."
This year he will be joined by his son Howden Gray on the 5km walk.
For father and son - who lives in Porirua - it's a good event for a catch up.