Great North Run Hall of Fame poems

The Tracks of His Tears

Is it the disharmonies of Nick Clegg’s job

that cause him to sonorously sob?

Sniffling about the public service pay cuts plan,

whilst listening to “Don’t Pay The Ferryman”,

A little boo hoo

brought on by “Would I Lie To You?”.

Is it Tears for Fears

he hears?

Oh, Nick how thou weepest

on hearing “The First Cut Is The Deepest”.

Thatcher not blubbing til her exit makes her

seem meaner,

or maybe she just never played

“Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”.

A Natural Listening Break

We’re the government and we’re taking some

listening exercise.

Think of us as a big, thick, flexing ear.

A gigantic auditory muscle,

that exists just to hear


We’ll be a vast shell like spy satellite

focused on you day and night.

Not a scary, spy,

the sort that injects you with Uranium

until your brains fry,

but a friendly spy,

like one of the blonde ones off Spooks.

We want to listen to you gently.

We want to listen to you as intently

as the News of the World listens

to celebrity voicemails.

Our hearing will be so acute

we will hear the heartbeat of the Universe,

the clinking of the coppers left in the public purse,

the anxious pulse of a specialist nurse,

the screeching sound of another policy U turn.

We will listen until our ears burn.

We’re not like those governments that won’t listen

to what their citizens say,

we blast those loudly

until they go away.

We want to listen

to all women and all men,

but with us just talking there,

about how much we care,,

er…what was it you were saying again?

You Don’t Look Like A Runner

You? You couldn’t run for a bus
or to the end of our street.
You haven’t got the right shoes,
You haven’t got the right feet,

you make Jabba the Hutt look graceful,
you just weren’t Born to Run,
you couldn’t pace set for a snail,
you’re more funeral than fun.

You’re more gradual than evolution,
slower than a three toed sloth’s brain,
you suffer more delays than
a GNER train.

You are…well you’re hefty,
you’ve got wobbly bits and breasts
and bingo wings and lumps
that weren’t designed for vests.

Your only experience of half a Marathon,
is scoffing a renamed chocolate bar,
if you could you’d get to your kitchen
by driving there in your car.

I reply with all the numbers,
the pounds that I will lose
the pounds that I will make
the calories I will use.

The 50 000 other runners,
the 30 years of history,
the 21 water stations,
the millions raised for charity.

But I don’t have to be a mathematician either,
and reach for numbers ever bigger,
to show the impressive shrinkage
in my sweating or my figure.

I don’t have to be an athlete,
I don’t have to make like Zola Budd,
I don’t have to beat a record
in order to feel good.

I just want to feel connected,
to be part of something more,
to train my body and my mind
to reach something they’ve never
reached before

I still won’t look like a runner,
and a runner won’t look like me
but when I’ve done my 13 miles
a Great North Runner is what I’ll be.

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