To celebrate World Poetry Day, we are sharing poems created especially for our Great Run events.
You Don't Look Like A Runner
Starting us off, we have You Don't Look Like A Runner, penned by Great North Run poet in residence Kate Fox for our 2011 staging of the event.
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
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.
Next up, is Do Something, written by Manchester poet Tony Walsh for the Great Manchester Run in 2015.
In The Long Run
Last year, we commissioned Scottish poet Jackie Kay to write a poem for the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run.
Jackie brought the spirit of Glasgow and the incredible atmosphere of the iconic event to life with a poem dedicated to all those who take part and all the supporters who line the route each year to encourage each and every runner.
Glasgow – gallus, glitzy, fu o' grace. This city's
Heartbeat's your own. Art in its DNA. No self-pity.
You'll stride across the Clyde at least twice,
Or race with your grief keeping pace alongside –
Run to meet the daughter you lost,
The father you're trying to save; your raised bet; the cost.
You'll limber up, keep on, your body a crane,
Ingenious, strong: breathe In, dear green place; carry on.
Aye, you'll run: fast, slow, fast, and in slow motion –
Loping past your broken heart, the ways you were mistaken
Floating like steamers on the Clyde. The past is tomorrow.
You keep going, and when you get a chance to say, it you borrow
From your other tongue – GOMA. Briggait. Gaelic, Urdu, Igbo.
Music plays inside, rising, falling: your body's The Armadillo.
What is your favourite poem about running? Get in touch with us on our social media channels.