I'd drop down to my front toe line

head up, chest aquiver

eager for the race's start,

while crowds made me shiver.


My fists would gouge into the turf

to poise me for the run,

sometimes I saw the pistol's puff,

at times I heard the gun.


O, how often I've pushed with pride

the rivals at my back,

breathing hard, not losing stride,

to break free from the pack.


Though they call me Pheidippides

you may not know my name;

after the brave soldier from Greece

who died not seeking fame,


while running the twenty-six miles

over Marathon's plain,

to tell Athens and all the world,

of the rout of Persians.


In my races, I feel his mind,

my chest puffed in prowess

to float under a boost of wind,

his gift grown effortless.






George Chappell is a Rockland resident and former member of The Courier-Gazette news staff. He participates in the Rockport Public Library's Poets' Corner Workshop. His book, "A Fresh Footpath: My New Life in Poetry" is available through Pell Press in Rockport.