The Extra Yards



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.


Wibble Wobble Legs

Runner stops to help rival metres from the finish line. Sun photo from 2017 London Marathon.

Wibble Wobble Legs was inspired by a story from last year’s London Marathon and is dedicated to everyone running tomorrow.


When you’re wibble wobble legged with the finish line in sight

And you’ve only got to get from here to there.

If your legs won’t stand the test, though you really do your best

That’s when you need another runner there.


I could not leave you there, there was not too far to go

And the effort that you’d put in really showed.

You were wibble wobble legged but you did not want to rest

So determined you would get there; make that line.


I told you to go on, for the time was marching on

You were on for sub three hours and losing time.

But you wouldn’t leave me there, took my arm and gave a steer

Stopped to help me, damn the time, let’s make the line.


You were wibble wobble legged and could barely do a step

But I wasn’t going to leave you, not so near.

Spectators looked appalled but when I stopped

They’d all applaud.

We’ll do this thing together, make that line.


When a runner hits the wall, then there’s nothing there at all

But I didn’t mean to stop I would press on.

I said to leave me there; just carry on.

There were rival runners passing

You were losing time and placing

To sacrifice your own run really wasn’t fair.

But my legs were just like jelly

And although I’d got there nearly

Those last few yards were just too far to go.


I knew what you’d put in, 

All the hours and miles you’d done

And I couldn’t leave you there, that near the line.

The race already won, one victor and one crown

But there’s still a human race that must be run.

There are medics with a chair, 

They’ll  haul you off if you’re left there

So I’ll help you carry on and get you to the line.

For now that’s the only thing on my mind.


Even when a Marshall came and took my other arm

You wouldn’t go but stuck there just the same.

Though I didn’t know your name, you helped me all the same

You took my arm and got me to the line.

You forgot about the clock, you just took my arm and stopped

But we both beat three hours and there’s no shame.

With the race already won, one victor and one crown.

There’s still a human race that must be run.