The Extra Yards

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When Pheidippides

Took the news to distant Athens.

A mighty battle had been won

Along the road at Marathon.

 

But poor Pheidippides he dropped dead.

No great ad for the race as happens.

But then in eighteen ninety six

It was reinvented for modern Olympics.

 

They raced for round twenty five miles.

Roughly the distance back to Athens.

It stayed that distance more or less

Quite far enough I must confess.

 

But then in nineteen hundred eight

Something slightly iffy happens

They change the distance for the Queen

To the length it’s ever since been.

 

From Windsor Castle to White City

Made the route just twenty six miles.

But Queen Victoria would be there,

Ought to finish in front of her.

 

So they fixed it twenty six point two;

And after twenty six hard miles,

Added three hundred eighty five yards.

To make the race that bit more hard.

 

Poor Pheidippides he dropped down dead

After running all of those miles.

Would he have got the message out

If he had to run the extra yards?

 

And runners coming to the line

Curse with scant breath the Empress Queen.

The finish not where it should have been.

It makes the race a bit more hard

To have to run the extra yards.

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