Running Shoes – by Mark Connors


They strew themselves about the house,
still trying to look useful, relevant:
the grey Nikes from my first half marathon
in Lancaster, just short of a sub two hours.
I bumped into Kim Moore at the end,
drinking tea. She’d been back a while.
I sometimes wear them to the shops,
in fields, on beaches, in sand dunes.
The last time I put them on
I was reminded of a trip to Holy Island
by invasive piri piri burrs.

The blue and yellow trail shoes
that share affinities with Leeds United:
always dirty in their day, always ready
for a cameo when a medal’s up for grabs,
never beaten, until the embers of injury time.
They ran me from Liverpool to Manchester
when the Beast from the East returned
for a mean and memorable encore,
12 hours and fifty fucking miles
of rain and snow in biblical downpours;
a final lap of a rugby field in Didsbury,
that felt more like a park run in a monsoon.

The black and white pair
that have scaled the moors, the lanes,
the paths and bridleways
for a thousand miles or more
since we tipped up in Laycock.
They have no traction left
but look smashing with blue jeans
and an AC/DC t shirt.

The pair of ADIDAS
that got me through a marriage break up,
took me more miles on the canal
than a Hinny or Pit Pony
and every mile of 26 and a bit in Edinburgh,
from cobbled street to sea at Portobello.
I wear them when I haven’t been myself
to remind me I can get through anything.

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