CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- At the equator, the distance around the world is 24,901.5 miles.
Claude Fowlkes plans to run his 24,902nd mile aboard a cruise ship in February as it crosses that imaginary line.
The retired DuPont chemical engineer's stride is confident. So is his knowledge that his mileage log is accurate.
Fowlkes, 67, can be seen running on Kanawha Boulevard or on the Sunrise Carriage Trail in warm weather, and on a treadmill at Nautilus on inclement days. After a run he's always seen sitting with his laptop, meticulously recording his many steps on an Excel spreadsheet.
When he adds up the distance that he's run, he's getting close to the distance around the equator -- and he is planning for that moment.
Fowlkes and his wife, Roberta, will be on an 11-day Princess Cruise that goes through Hawaii on its way to Bora Bora and Tahiti. Between those last two destinations, he will make that momentous step.
While they plan to chat with the ship's captain about the significant crossing, to enlist his help in knowing the exact moment it happens, Fowlkes is not taking any chances.
"I'm taking my GPS," he said, and then, with a wry smile, added, "It'll probably be at 3 in the morning."
Fowlkes started keeping track of his mileage in 1982 on a monster of a laptop -- Roberta said they still have it, but it's antiquated, to say the least. He started tracking his running as he trained for the Charleston Distance Run, competing in the race for 22 consecutive years.
Each month he set a goal, and each day he recorded how far he ran.
The goal of 1,000 miles per year was reached after he retired in 2003. A runner must average about three miles each day to run 1,000 a year. Fowlkes said that may not sound like much, but if you miss a day, that puts six on the next day's agenda.