Jim Ryun, once the nation's dominant miler and silver medalist at the 1968 Olympics, will come to the Lowcountry next week to share his life story with students at Beaufort's Holy Trinity Classical Christian School.
The Kansas native was the first high-schooler to break four minutes in the mile, running 3:59 as a junior. He went on to set five world records and several American records, and still holds the American junior records at four distances.
Ryun, who later served five terms as a U.S. congressman, only took up distance running as something of a last resort — after being cut from his church baseball team, the middle school basketball team and the school's track team.
"Holy Trinity has certainly embraced a culture of running since our inception," said Hillary Tobin, who coaches the cross country squad alongside husband Josiah. "We are certainly a great audience for Congressman Ryun."
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Cross country was Holy Trinity's first official team sport when the school opened in 2012.
Though Ryun competed in three Olympics, he came home with only one medal. Favored to win gold at 1,500 meters in Mexico City, he was upset by Kenya's Kip Keino in a time of 3:34.9 that remained the Olympic record for 16 years.