Marathon Madness*

I couldn’t run for a bus!
-Though I appreciate the fuss
Attended to the marathon
That comes annually to Brighton.¹
For a start, there’s the clearing of 26 miles,
An exercise by nature bound to rile
As tourists and locals
And travelled-in folk’ll
Flock like seagulls
To witness the spectacle,
Few of them thinking to leave their cars
(A practical step, deemed über bizarre
Even in this land of eco-worriers,²
This, perhaps the case more by reputation
Than actual, practical preoccupation),
Noting the ribbons of traffic streaming,
Kids at the windows and faces beaming;
A day at the seaside
The point of their ride,
Though perhaps not quite so soon today
With marathon runners obscuring the way,
Their sense of achievement
Expressed in torment
Facial expressions across a spectrum
From the nigh-on-exhausted
To the on-task-humdrum,
Folks lining the streets intent to bear witness
Bring a mild sense of irony
To this pageantry of fitness,
The thing that fascinates me most
In this auspicious race along the coast ³
Is what on earth goes on in the minds
Of those whose sense of challenge is so inclined.
Twenty-six miles is a long time to ponder:
Time on the hoof to let the mind wonder…
If it were me, I could only imagine
Getting distracted in spite of the passion-
Suddenly finding I’ve stopped.
Stock still.
Even in spite of a well-trained will,
To do something stupid like stare at a view
Or take in the TV or radio crew
Toying with outside broadcasting tech,
Their attention to detail commanding respect,
Ensuring the very best possible shots
Of winners and losers and costumes- the lot!
Portraying a spectrum of human endeavour
To file in the archives for ever and ever
So that one day, in years yet to come
When somebody asks, ‘What do you mean, ‘run’?
On account of having, in years between,
Over-adapted to hand-held screens
Evolving unquestioned capacity
To record
And edit

¹- and Hove, actually…


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