A 78-Year-Old Man Is Running from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., for Charity

Kelly Vaughan
·2 min read

It's never too late to fulfill your dreams, and Stan Cottrell is proof of that very fact. The world-renowned long-distance runner is determined to set a new Guinness World Record by running back-to-back marathons for 100 days straight—he'll start in Los Angeles and end in Washington, D.C., and he's doing it all for charity. "If I can get up and move at 78, everyone in America can," said Cottrell in a statement. "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!"

78 year old ultra distance runner stan cottrell
78 year old ultra distance runner stan cottrell

Courtesy of The Amazing Friendship Run

Dubbed The Friendship Run, this initiative aims to both cheer on Cottrell and encourage others to start moving, one step at a time, all in the name of goodwill, health, and wellness. Throughout his life, Cottrell has run more than 250,000 miles across 40 different countries, including two previous coast-to-coast treks in the United States. He also previously ran across Europe in 80 days and running 2,152 miles across an ancient, forbidden part of China.

Related: A Beginners Guide to Running

Cottrell currently holds the record for the fastest-ever TransAmercia run, which took him just 48 days to complete in 1985. This summer, Cottrell expects his 3,126 mile-run to take 100 days. "I'm a different body than I was in 1985. At 77 years old, I have barely scratched the surface of human potential. What are the limits? I don't know," he said in a video posted to The Amazing Friendship Run's website. He believes that running is a way to not only break down the walls that not only divide countries, but also the walls that divide people.

Cottrell is determined to accomplish his latest goal. "How many victories have been lost because people gave up five minutes too early?" he said. When he runs, Cottrell chants "five more minutes" in order to motivate himself to keep going.

The race is fundraising for charities such as the Friendship Sports Association, Go Vets Foundation, Larger than Life, WLOC Clothes for Kids Inc., Feed the Children, Hope for Families, Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, and TongueOut. You can donate to Cottrell's race and learn more about how to support these causes here.