"Middle Distance Runner" as written by and Alex Brown Church....
Well I'm so sad tonight
And the words won't come out right
It's been a long day on the track
And its stamina that I lack

So won't you run to me tonight?
Tonight could turn but we're just lovers
But I'll only ever be a middle distance runner

Well my heart is beating hard
And I'm off with a shot at the start
And my legs tremble from strain
But by the finish line I'll drain

So won't you run to me tonight?
Tonight let's not talk about next summer
Cause I'll only ever be a middle distance runner

Well I'm so proud tonight
Of the woman you've become
And I'm just too tired to fight
So my darling, I'll succumb

But you'll have to run to me tonight
Tonight I will love you forever
But I'll only ever be a middle distance runner


Lyrics submitted by untitledxx, edited by ChloBro421

"Middle Distance Runner" as written by Alex Brown Church

Lyrics © REACH MUSIC PUBLISHING

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Middle Distance Runner song meanings
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  • +2
    My Interpretation"And I'm off with a shot at the start, And my legs tremble from strain" - When you start the race you cannot start too hard or you will wear yourself out. He throws all of himself into a relationship immediately, but overdoes it and cannot go for the long haul. "And I'm just too tired to fight"
    "Tonight I will love you forever" - Its all about the passion of the moment. You give them your all but your all soon runs dry.

    I feel such a strong connection with this song be I feel it describes me, absolutely perfectly. I also used to be a middle distance runner and I see how the analogy plays into the emotion. This song isn't talking about a one night stand, a "sprint", but an honest attempt for something more, a real love, a real relationship. A middle distance runner though can give so much, they can run fast and run far, but although the running fast is like a "high" and feels amazing, it can't go on forever....
    JoeNon March 02, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti feel ya JoeN.
    this analogy gets me going too,
    im a big runner and ive often asked my coach when ill be able to start moving on from the shorter distances im doing now to marathon training and he always says something along the lines of: " younger minds (and bodies) typically arent strong enough for that kind of mileage, youll just fall apart and feel youre missing out on something. with age will come the maturity and strength (stamina) you will need."

    so im going to use this analogy as an excuse at my lack luster way of loving. that ive only ever been taught how to be a "middle distance runner", and maybe with time and wisdom ill be able to one day learn the ways of the longer-term stuff.
    melvin2828on June 28, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentno. its a girl he has a relationship with. or has in the past.
    he's talking to her. asking her to please be the one to come to him.
    he doesn't know the answers, he doesn't know the future, he doesn't know what will happen
    "tonight let's not talk about next summer"
    but he wants her. its a selfish song. he's worn out. all that has gone on.
    tonight he cant promise anything, but tonight he wants to be her lover.

    "tonight i will love you forever"
    he knows it won't last. but he wants her anyways. if only to comfort his exhaustion.
    "won't you run to me tonight" its selfish. but in a sacraficial humbled way.
    vedalynon January 09, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationHe's been working so hard in his relationship (tired from the day on the track)
    and now he's starting to give up, because he realized that he'll never be anything she's dreamed of (middle distance runner)

    He put everything into the relationship with the next verse, and realizes that it isn't going to work out, and there isn't exactly a future between them.

    He still loves her though. even if she says she wants to come back to him, later on after they've grown apart (woman you've become), he knows it wont work out because he's a middle distance runner still. but he'll love her anyways, and he knows it won't ever work.
    PirateArmadilloon April 27, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationWell I'm so sad tonight
    And the words won't come out right
    It's been a long day on the track
    And it's stamina that I lack

    - I think it's about a man who is in love with a free-spirited woman. Being with her is exhilarating, but exhausting; it feels like he's constantly chasing after her. He's trying to match her pace, but it's just not in him.

    So won't you run to me tonight?
    Tonight we could pretend that we're just lovers
    But I'll only ever be a middle distance runner

    - Here he's asking her to meet him half-way. Instead of him always following her, would she be willing to stop and come to him for once? He's laying it out plainly for her: "I'll only ever be a middle distance runner", which is to say, I'm a 'take things slowly as they come' kind of guy, and I may not be as quick to sprint ahead as you are, but if you're okay with that, I want to be with you.

    Well my heart is beating hard
    And I'm off with a shot at the start
    And my legs tremble from strain
    But by the finish line I am drained

    - Another stanza describing the constant game of catch up that characterizes their relationship.

    So won't you run to me tonight?
    Tonight let's not talk about next summer
    Cause I'll only ever be a middle distance runner

    - Perhaps the girl is always talking about the future, thinking about the consequences of her actions, and the things that are yet to come, but not inevitable. The man is saying, let's take care of the things that are now, and not worry about things we can't control or that may not happen. Let's get our relationship sorted out before we consider the future.

    Well I'm so proud tonight
    Of the woman you've become
    And I'm just too tired to fight
    So my darling, I'll succumb

    - He's completely in love with her and he's entrusting himself to her. Perhaps falling into her pace?

    But you'll have to run to me tonight
    Tonight I will love you forever
    But I'll only ever be a middle distance runner

    - If you want us to be together, you're going to have to keep in mind my limitations and personality, and we're each going to have to adjust our paces.

    Essentially it's a sweet love song about learning to adapt yourself to another person.
    TrickyTeaon October 18, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't think this song is about him putting the blame on her or feeling that the girl he is singing about falling short. It is about his own inability to fully devote himself to a relationship. He clearly wants a relationship - "And I'm off with a shot at the start And my legs tremble from strain" -he's off with good intentions, but doesn't have the strength to continue. Good song either way
    acevesamon May 15, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI know a lot of people have interpreted this song as being about a relationship, and it is, I think, in a way, but I've always really felt that it's more about the narrator struggling with depression.

    'Well I'm so sad tonight
    And the words won't come out right
    It's been a long day on the track
    And it's stamina that I lack'

    He starts out by saying that tonight he's really struggling with his sadness, that it's hard to communicate what he's feeling, then goes on to say that his day on the track was exhausting. This is where the 'runner' metaphor for his depression begins. Running on a track is boring and there's often very little variation. He's saying that he's uninterested in life, and having to go through the motions is exhausting.

    The chorus is interesting:

    'So won't you run to me tonight?
    Tonight we could pretend that we're just lovers
    But I'll only ever be a middle distance runner'

    Asking her to run to him is his way of asking for help. He's exhausted and cannot go to her, so he asks her to come to him. The second line could mean that they have a much deeper bond, and that they could pretend that they're 'just' lovers. But the last line is the core of the metaphor: I'll only ever be a middle distance runner.

    'Well my heart is beating hard
    And I'm off with a shot at the start
    And my legs tremble from strain
    But by the finish line l am drained'

    This is him explaining that he started too quickly in the 'race,' in other words, in life. He tried to function normally, tried to keep up a quick pace, tried to keep up appearances, but by the end of the day, he could barely walk anymore.

    'So won't you run to me tonight?
    Tonight let's not talk about next summer
    Cause I'll only ever be a middle distance runner'

    This is, I think, where the metaphor really comes together. He asks her to reach out to him again, then says he's unable to talk about next summer. Combined with the previous verse about starting too quickly, we can really see how he's a middle distance runner, unable to sprint but incapable of enduring. Part of the reason I believe this song is about depression is because of my own experience with it. It's hard to get out of bed sometimes, to 'sprint' or start a day strongly, but it's impossible to think about the future. How can you when you can barely survive day to day?

    'Well I'm so proud tonight
    Of the woman you've become
    And I'm just too tired to fight
    So my darling, I'll succumb'

    This final verse is haunting. He's proud of his lover for all her accomplishments, he admires and cherishes her, but he's tired. Depression saps you of energy, makes you believe that living just isn't worth it, so he says he's too tired to fight that belief anymore and says he'll succumb. In other words, he's saying goodbye, and, in the final chorus, that he'll love her forever.

    I know that life experiences inform interpretations of art and music, and this is only my interpretation. But since the very first time I heard this song, it really resonated with me, because I've felt the same bone-weary exhaustion he speaks about.
    mororeson September 12, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSome of these lyrics are incorrect. It should be like this:

    So won't you run to me tonight?
    >>Tonight we could pretend that we're just lovers
    But I'll only ever be a middle distance runner

    &

    Well my heart is beating hard
    And I'm off with a shot at the start
    And my legs tremble from strain
    >>But by the finish line I am drained
    proposalson May 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgreat song. About not being able to sustain a long term relationship.
    riley490on October 16, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's my favorite song.

    I saw them live singing this song, at the
    sunset juction they were great
    npknhdfrvron November 10, 2007   Link

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