Team Chessington that day:
The sun rose bright and clear, with runners ready to play.
And then when Caitlyn strapped on her shoes, and Rod did the same,
An electric silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
The “semi-well-trained” runners awoke Sunday morning. The rest
Clung to the hope which springs eternal in the human breast.
They thought, if only Caitlyn could get in front of the crowd,
We’d have a reason to cheer, and to cheer loud.
Runners lined up at the 21st Annual Marrakech Half Marathon
As soon as the whistle blew, Caitlyn was gone.
Jesse , Cherry, Josh, Rod and Lauren Peate
Ran a (slightly) slower pace- no need to compete.
The Spirit Squad, aka “Al-Mushejiaa-uun”
Had decorated their shirts and even thought up some tunes.
Cath and Jackie and Kristen and Sam
Sipped coffee, ate pastries, and supported our friends from the stands.
Runners of all kinds: black, white, Arab, kids, and the old
Running together like a Michael Jackson music video.
Everyone in the crowd knew it was a beautiful sight
To see hijabed women next to Ethiopian men, running with all their might.
Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell
It rumbled through the Middle Atlas valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountains and did not diminish,
For Caitlyn, mighty Caitlyn, was advancing to the finish!
There was ease in Cait’s manner as she ran at her pace.
There was pride in Cait’s bearing and a smile on Cait’s face.
And when, responding to cheers, she sprinted and weaved.
No stranger in the crowd could doubt that this girl is sportive!
Even when a man came flying by bearing the Moroccan flag
Or a group of French schoolchildren, or those with spirit starting to sag,
Never was seen a more beautiful sight
Than our group of American runners, fighting the good fight.
Tell me the secret of Team Chessington’s success.
Was it all those Huut Dances? I’m trying to guess.
Maybe the delicious vegan, pre-race dinner at the Earth Café?
Or maybe sheer willpower, or fresh orange juice the previous day?
I’m sure their strong finish has something to do
With crossed eyes and Spirit Squad Al-Mushejiaa-uun.
Or maybe we’ll admit, just the lucky number “Tisuuud” (9).
In any case, I’m proud of Team Chessington…and I pity the foo.
Oh, somewhere in this Maghreb land the sun is shining bright
The Gnaoua band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light
And somewhere men are laughing (probably in a café), and somewhere children shout (at you to give them money)
And there is much joy in Marrakech- Team Chessington knows what that’s all about.