Many times we have seen their televised relegations,

the laying bare of their losering,

                                                         those who also ran :

in Olympic, World, European, Commonwealth medal-mongering,

from black-and-white to colour to 3D widescreen,

victors surge by,

leaders pound past.

Sometimes the lapped move to one side,

sometimes they keep their lane:

                      defiant or just dazed?

                      deference or detachment?

Some are lapped once,

some are lapped twice – thrice –

but still they trot,

still they trot

as cameras swivel away

                                         and lights go out.

How can they reach an end

if nobody is there to see?

I want to be that lapped runner who crosses the line

a yard in front of the neck-strain winner,

complicating the flashes and cheers,

still one hundred miles to go

                                                  but hot with fantasy.

Ted Eames, 2018