With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore
'Twas the night before New Year, and all down the street,
Not a creature was stirring, they were resting their feet.
Their running shoes sat by the back door, so near,
Knowing that Janathon soon would be here.
And me, I was nestled, all snug in my bed,
While thoughts of the month to come danced in my head:
Thoughts of lycra, and fleece, of my windproofs and cap,
While pre-emptive leg pains tried to threaten my nap.
Then out on the lawn there arose such a racket,
I woke from my slumbers, muttering "Oh fackit..."
And away to the window I stumbled half blind,
Throwing open the curtains to see what I'd find,
The moon on the breast of the rain sodden grass,
Made me blink, and mutter, and wonder what ass,
Was standing out there in Ron Hills and Pertex?
When he turned, and he looked at me, and he yelled "You're next!"
"You dasher, you dancer, you prancer, you prat!
Stir your legs, you lazy arse, don't lie putting on fat!
To the end of the street! To the top of the hill!
Now run away! Run away! As fast as you will!"
And as dry leaves before a runner's feet fly,
When they're kicked up at pace, they take to the sky,
Straight up to the house-top the yeller he flew.
In his hi-viz, Ron Hills and headlamp too.
Soon, in a second, I heard on the roof,
The skittering, scuttling of a motion-controlled hoof.
As I drew closed the curtain, and turned back around,
Down the chimney St. Jan appeared with a bound.
He was dressed in his running kit, tech from head to foot,
Though his hi-viz was tarnished with ashes and soot.
And he jogged on the spot, unwilling to quit,
And I pondered his motion, as on my bed I did sit.
His eyes, how they twinkled, though his face it was old,
His cheeks glowing rosy, caught by wind and by cold.
And his droll little mouth broke into a grin,
"What secrets you'll learn, now you've let St. Jan in"
He was skinny and spry, but a jolly wee elf,
And I smiled when I saw him, in spite of myself.
And a wink of his eye and a scratch of his ear,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to fear.
A bottle of electrolyte he took from his pack,
Which he handed to me, which I drank and passed back.
And soon I was filled with a feeling of joy:
The trails would be my playground, the mileage my toy!
St. Jan spoke no more words, just stood there and smiled.
And in that moment I knew how we'd cover the miles.
He saw my grin, shook my hand, and whispered "Give it hell"
Then he strode out the door, other runners to tell.
And calm as you like he jogged away down the street,
Eating up the miles as they passed 'neath his feet
And as he did, he exclaimed, and I'd echo his shout
"Good luck to all! Run safe. Peace, out"
*Or I may have made that one up...