Former Guinness World Record Holder To Run 17,000 Miles

Announcing The Great Global Friendship Run

For Immediate Release

Stan Cottrell, Chairman
Friendship Sports Association Inc.
98 Top Mast Drive, Clayton, GA 30525

Atlanta, Georgia, February 1, 2013 – Friendship Sports Association charity announces that Stan Cottrell, one of the all-time-great names of ultra distance runners, will run 35 miles per day, for 2 consecutive days per week until he runs through all the world’s 250+ countries, territories and colonies.  He will spend one week in each country with festivities, seminars, sports events, cultural events, children’s events and work with orphans.

This adventure and epic odyssey of global friendships will begin in 2013.
Stan Cottrell is now 70 years old.

After running more than 200,000 miles thus far, Stan has learned first hand there is a rarely tapped reservoir of benign power for international diplomacy that has come from running through different countries.

 ”We need more people with a vision which allows people to connect in a non-threatening way.”

Upon hearing those words from a key national leader, acclaimed ultra-distance runner, Stan Cottrell of Tucker Georgia, set his eyes upon the finish-line of this great event – no matter how lengthy or how many years it requires.  Knowing tens of millions of people from every corner of the earth will be cheering him on, he will complete this compelling mission.

With major advances in communication technologies and growing globalization themes, an unprecedented opportunity to further bridge greater understanding between cultures is on the horizon. It will take a total of some 17,000 miles for Stan to run in most or all of the 250+ countries, territories and colonies of the world.  This will create a unique dimension of people-to-people initiative in Sports Diplomacy … and the beginning of many steps of a long journey to establish lasting friendships which span the globe.

Stan Cottrell provided a preview of the USA portion of The Great Global Friendship Run  at his family’s home farm, “Gobbler’s Knob” in Kentucky, last fall.  Cottrell ran 34-1/2 miles for each of two back-to-back days as the centerpiece of 6 days of interactive activities, concluding with a musical “Hoedown Celebration of Life” event.  This pattern will be repeated weekly for the five-to-six years needed to complete the adventure, but the mileage will increase annually to match his age.

The Great Global Friendship Run

“An Adventure That Will Be Remembered For Centuries To Come…”

Starting  later in 2013, thousands will join Stan Cottrell, the most noted ultra distance runner, as he begins his one man odyssey in the innovative global event which has been hailed as being “of historic proportions” and “an adventure that will be remembered for centuries to come.” Friendship Sports and a sea of international partners will be coordinating the daily activities and all logistics of this grand event and its charitable outreach.

This unprecedented, 250-week sports and charity event is called  “The Great Global Friendship Run.”  The idea of a  run throughout the entire world was first conceived in 1984 when Stan Cottrell ran from The Great Wall of China to Guangzhou. This was followed by a run across the United States along with three Chinese distance runners, Cottrell’s . The event was highly acclaimed and publicized.  A feature length movie, China Run, chronicled the event and was shown in markets around the world.

Cottrell has already run across 38 countries promoting friendship, including twice across the USA, a 12-country run across Europe covering 80 kilometers per day for 80 days, Korea (twice), Dominican Republic (twice), Jamaica (twice), Bulgaria (3 times), Crimea, Cambodia, Vietnam (twice), and Berlin to Warsaw.  His 2123-mile run across China in just 53 days was the equivalent of running 2 marathons a day consecutively for 2 months.

So Why An Ultra-Distance Event?

Stan Cottrell, teacher – author – athlete – motivational speaker – goodwill ambassador,  believes sports and running bring people together.

“At some point in most people’s lives, they run; whether as children or while participating in a game or a sport. Regardless of geography or culture, people relate to running.”

During a Friendship Run, those who can may join Cottrell in running for as long as they choose. When his team comes through small towns and remote villages, people are curious and stop to see what is going on. When they do, Cottrell shakes hands, hugs children, and spends time sharing encouraging thoughts.  Ultimately, all those whom he and his team meet come together in thought, heart and spirit and the world is changed for good.

Instead of interfering with his schedule or wearing him out, Cottrell says this interaction with people along the route actually serves to energize him.

Stan Cottrell should know.  Now 70, he has been running since childhood, winning his first race at a county fair in his home state of Kentucky when he was 12. Since then, he has logged more than 200,000 miles of running in 56 years.

That is more than 8 times around the earth.  During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, he also set world records for completing the most miles in a 24-hour period, in addition to setting a new Guinness Record for his 1980 Trans-USA run, covering 3103.5 miles in just 48 days.

When asked how his running coordinates with his belief every person on earth can make a lasting difference, Cottrell explained:

“Running is a great forum for breaking down walls of division between people of different cultures.”

“It has been said the enemies and strangers of our world are often similar. We fear what we don’t understand. I see people when I run. When we talk, it immediately becomes clear how alike we are versus how different we are.”

 ”Living a successful life means discovering what you do well and doing more of it. I run and people come out and run with me. We laugh, play, and for a moment in time, we are as school children playing together. Somehow, we are all changed positively. In those moments we see each other as people… and the world is a better place. We are all messengers of trust, friendship, and understanding. Running together is a wonderful way to promote these values.”

One of the many exceptional aspects of The Great Global Friendship Run (GGFR) is an internet communication campaign encouraging USA school children to write letters of friendship to schoolchildren along the run route in each participating country.

 ”Giving our children the opportunity to begin talking and developing communications is a powerful way to make our wonderful nations even greater,” Cottrell said.

Encouragement To Go The Extra Mile

Stan Cottrell has received many endorsements which encourage him to keep going “the extra mile.” So far, he has received endorsements of commendations from The White House Fellows Association, The U.S. President’s Council for Sports & Fitness, House of Representatives Resolutions, Senate Resolution, Congressmen, Senators, and the letters from former Executive levels of government. They laud Cottrell as a goodwill ambassador to the world, for bringing better communication and cooperation among the peoples of the world.

The GGFR vision has propelled Cottrell to continue to plant seeds of friendship which began a quarter of a century ago. The Great Global Friendship Run is a perfect fit to help break down walls and bring greater understanding between all the global citizens of our great planet.

“I have learned that I need people; I can’t make it in life alone. I need the support, encouragement and friendship of others. It is crucial to the unborn generations that we make these efforts among the peoples of the world for lasting friendship. With the technological innovations we now have, this is one of a number of distinctive forums which can add to the overall impact of such a milestone.”

 People the world over are learning to understand that this is a vision of hope …
as they take the “first step of thousands of friendship building miles.”