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78-year-old cross country runner to stop for event in Phoenix on way to DC

Stan Cottrell (Courtesy photo/The Amazing Friendship Run)

PHOENIX — A 78-year-old cross country runner making a trek from coast to coast over the next few months will take a pit stop in Phoenix on Wednesday for an event in his honor.

Stan Cottrell, an ultra-long-distance runner who is also the real-life inspiration for the iconic cross country scene in the movie “Forrest Gump,” embarked on his journey from Los Angeles on Friday.

He’s calling it “The Amazing Friendship Run” and will log more than 3,000 miles in back-to-back marathons for 100 days on his way to Washington, D.C.

Cottrell’s mission is to unite America with hope, health and friendship as well as raise money for multiple charities.

“If I can get up and move at 78, everyone in America can too,” Cottrell said in a press release. “We are creating a movement of spreading positivity, kindness and unity.”

Cottrell will be welcomed to Encanto Park (2605 N 15th Ave.) at 3:30 p.m. by Phoenix Councilwoman Laura Pastor, who will be issuing an official proclamation marking the date as Stan Cottrell Day.

The drumline from Cesar Chavez High School will perform as Cottrell enters the park along with police runners, vehicles and fire trucks leading the way, according to the release.

Cottrell and other guests will speak at the free event.

People who want to join Cottrell for a part of his journey can register online.

“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!” Cottrell said.

He will also make stops in New Mexico, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia before making it to Washington, D.C., with a team of medical professionals closely monitoring and living with him during the duration of the run.

Cottrell in the past has set a Guinness World Record for running across the United States in just 48 days, ran across Europe in 80 days and ran 2,152 miles in 53 days across China where foreigners had never been permitted, according to the release.

He has run through 40 different countries during his 63-year career and logged more than 266,000 miles, which equates to more than ten times around the earth, according to the release.

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