Veteran distance runner Stan Cottrell is celebrated his 78th birthday Friday by embarking from Los Angeles' Pan Pacific Park for 100 days of back-to-back marathons to raise funds for charity before arriving in Washington, D.C.
Cottrell entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 1980 by completing a cross-country run in 48 days. He has run across Europe in 80 days, and run 2,152 miles in 53 days across China. He says he has run through 40 countries and accumulated more than 266,000 miles in his 63-year career.
His latest Amazing Friendship Run kicked off from Pan Pacific Park in the Fairfax district. The trek across America is a fundraiser for a number of charities, including Feed the Children and the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.
"If I can get up and move at 78, everyone in America can, too," said Cottrell, who lives in Atlanta. "We are creating a movement of spreading positivity, kindness and unity. Everyone, young and old, is welcome to join in and run with me for as long as they wish, be it a block, a mile or more!"
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Cottrell said the Friendship Run aims to accentuate the goals of goodwill, health and wellness, mutual trust and respect, and provide an opportunity to advance friendships between individuals and nations. Individuals and groups are encouraged to join Cottrell along the way and join him during his third trans-American run in person or online.
Free COVID-19 testing will be provided to everyone who registers to run with Cottrell through 360AZDoc. A livestream will show his location during his 3,000-plus-mile journey, making stops in 15 cities from coast to coast, including Phoenix; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Topeka, Kansas; Columbia, Missouri; Indianapolis; and Clarksburg, West Virginia, before arriving in Washington, D.C.
A team of medical professionals will monitor Cottrell's movement and live with him for the duration of his run. Cottrell's vitals, steps and other personal data will be collected by sensors he will be wearing and be shared publicly via a remote patient monitoring platform.
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For more information about the Friendship Run, to participate or donate, go to friendshipsportsassociation.org or see "Cottrell Stan" on Facebook. Other social media links include twitter.com/tarfwithstan and facebook.com/AmazingFriendshipRun.