Hundreds of students at Jay M. Robinson High School chanted "Colonel! Colonel!" as Russell Olson approached the school's track last week.
The 62-year-old teacher and retired Army colonel was about to complete 25,000 miles worth of running, which he's been tracking for 34 years.
Olson was greeted by cheers from students who watched him run one lap - the last quarter-mile of the 25,000 mile total.
Running was a way of life as a soldier, said Olson, who has recorded the date and distance of each run in a journal since 1976.
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Olson graduated from the Citadel and joined the Army in 1969. He travelled the world and spent time in Vietnam in the 1970s.
He retired from the Army in 1999 and taught in Salisbury before coming to Jay M. Robinson, where he teaches world and U.S. history and military history.
He doesn't run as much or as often as he once did, but he tries to run five days a week, he said. His wife, Linda, hosted a party when he reached 24,901 miles, nearly the length of the equator.
"When I started keeping record, I didn't have a goal," he said.
But, Olson said, he hopes to motivate students.
"He doesn't just teach us history," senior Zach Page said. "He teaches us to be better people."
Olson recently was named the school's teacher of the year, said Principal Beverly Mack. "The kids are inspired by him in so many ways."