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