Monday, August 6, 2007

Marathon Man

Jojo was a runner and he came from Marrakech,
Though I’m afraid I never saw him running in the flesh,
He’d scale the Atlas Mountains in the range outside his town,
Shout a praise to Allah, then he’d turn and run back down.

He never rode a camel or a tramcar in the street,
Preferring, as he said, the comfort of his own two feet.
He used to drive his teachers mad when he was in the crèche,
They predicted that his running would bring fame to Marrakech.

He entered competitions and he nearly always won,
Some opponents simply gave up ‘ere they had begun,
At middle-distance running, he was easily the best,
Though he could run a marathon much quicker than the rest.

In 1992, he travelled up to Barcelona.
He ran the whole way there for he was something of a loner.
These great Olympic Games would surely be his crowning glory,
But Fate conspired to write a much more awe-inspiring story.

He’d entered for the 10K race, and also for the five,
And also for the marathon if he were still alive.
His rivals on the racetrack called him many nasty names,
But he was sure that he could win three medals at the games.

He broke the record in the heat of the 10,000 metres,
And in the 5K walloped all the rest of the competers.
And in the 10K final he just sprinted off ahead,
Leaving Ethiopians and Kenyans all for dead.

But then there came some news which put poor Jojo through his paces,
The IOC decided on rescheduling the races.
And when the list was published, it was found the 5K race
Would happen at the same time as the Marathon took place.

Jojo knew full well that there was nothing he could do.
Instead of three gold medals, he would just end up with two.
The problem lay, as people said, recounting with a grin,
Which of the two races he should win his medal in.

The 5K race was easier, he’d hardly need break sweat,
His target of two medals would be so much quicker met,
But the Marathon held more appeal, and if he won that race,
Front pages of the world would each compete to show his face.

The publicity he’d garner would ensure him lasting fame,
And he could very easily cash in upon his name.
He asked his trainer, who was not a little bit surprised.
“You’re so much better off in the long run,” his coach advised.

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