After 230 days, 3,200 miles, 15 states, and countless steps, the 5th grade students at Russell Elementary School are completing their virtual Run/Walk Across America today - Tuesday, April 24. We are incredibly proud of them and many of the students do not truly realize what they've accomplished - although they will in years to come.

The web site will stay online as a way for them to look back on the journey, and for other teachers to use as a model for setting up their own virtual trek.

Once the kids cross that finish line, my journey begins... even though I won't leave Cannon Beach until June 23. It begins tomorrow because the kids will have met the challenge I posed to them on September 7, 2005, and then each training step I take from tomorrow onward will be toward fulfilling my promise to them. They've done something that many schools in warm climates have not been able to accomplish. They've persevered, and as a result they have inspired people - as is quite evident through the numerous encouragement notes received throughout the year from around the world. Based on all of our research, these 5th graders are the first individual class to complete a documented virtual crossing of the entire United States during a single school year.

Essentially, each of the 40 fifth graders are running their last mile today to reach the Atlantic Ocean on the Delaware coast at Cape Henlopen. We'll use the 1/2-mile loop in the park behind the school, circling it twice and crossing the finish On average, each child completed the equivalent of 3 marathon distances (or about 80 miles) in 8 months. Not bad for 11 year old kids!

Now Paul Stassos will have to hold up his end of the deal by running across America this summer starting in June at Cannon Beach, Oregon.  You can learn more at

Way to go Russell Elementary!