Dr. Hugo Greiner Testifies For Stan Cottrell –
In late October 2013, Dr. Hugo Greiner testified in court to the truth of Stan Cottrell’s 12 country “Great European Adventure Run” (1982) from Edinboro, Scotland to the Rock of Gibraltar averaging 80 kilometers per day for 80 straight days. He should know. He followed Cottrell ever step of the way on bicycle. Each night he took Stan’s blood to send back to the lab in Germany. Stan was the “human guinea pig” for world-leading scientists of human performance, and this “3500 mile experiment” was a major breakthrough for athletic training the world over.
A few self-interested detractors banded together in 2010 for a ferocious internet defamation attack on historic world distance runner, Stanley W. Cottrell Jr. They denied the reality of his lifetime of achievements and contributions, and wrecked havoc on Global Friendship Run plans to help the world’s orphans. But after three long years, Cottrell won resoundingly in court on issues of defamation and invasion of privacy. It was only through eye-witness testimony of many people involved in his decades of “friendship runs” throughout the world that the defamatory lies, misinformation and misleading statements were resoundingly debunked. Dr. Hugo Greiner, formerly of East Germany, was one such key witness.
There’s more about the continuing damage in the Newswire article, “Internet Defamation Hurt Runner Stan Cottrell,” and in the ThomsonReuters legal editorial clip: “Cyber-bullying injures long distance run career.”
But our focus here is a spotlight on one of the witnesses, former Sports Physician for the renowned East German Olympic Team, a pioneer in lactate analysis and other scientific sport research for understanding and improving high athletic performance, training methodologies and endurance… and on his experience with Stan Cottrell… up close and personal for 80 days, following his every step. So unlike the detractors’ lies that Cottrell never really ran all those miles, Dr. Hugo Greiner went to court to say: “You Shall Know The Truth – the whole truth and nothing but the truth” as he enlightened the jury on the facts: Stan ran…every step of the way!
Hugo Greiner’s Account of Stan Cottrell and the “Great European Adventure Run”
I had recently left East Germany as a Sports Physician to their Olympic Team. Our national theme at that time was: “Sports is our poor person’s version of the highly visible Space Programs.” We excelled in sports research and performance. We were pioneers in understanding the physiology of human performance. While the rest of the world was studying rats and mice and trying to infer or draw conclusions transferable to humans…this was ridiculous… we studied humans.
I once made a statement which has become an often quoted term in a funny way to a large audience of American Athletic Trainers, “I hear all you are saying about your rat studies. If you want to go have a rat Olympics, then go ahead. Now, if you want to know about humans, then I tell you about what we are learning from real humans…none of this crock shit stuff about rats.”
In my journey out of East Germany, I had the opportunity to come to Atlanta. There were those who knew my background. I was introduced to Stan Cottrell by mutual friends. Stan had been getting a lot of recognition from his long distance running and doing things that were outside the realm of conventional thinking at that time. He had recently run across the United States in record time. I was extremely interested in getting to know this person. I am a physician and scientist of human performance.
Within minutes of our first meeting, we were kindred spirits. It wasn’t long before we planned a run together…he called it the “Great European Adventure Run.” It would be a run starting from Edinboro, Scotland and would finish at the Rock of Gibraltar. We meticulously planned the route. It would be an 80 day run, and the goal was to average 80 kilometers per day. This would be every day. Stan accepted the challenge and felt he was up for this.
I was working with a noted scientist in Koln (Cologne), Germany. His name was Alois Mader. He was located at the Institute of Circulation Research, and he has become legendary for his work in lactate analysis.
Alois was excited about the possibilities of actually being able to study the physiological aspects of someone running this distance and what data could come from this endeavor. Heretofore, all the subjects we had studied were marathoners. That was just one event…26 miles…and it took weeks for the person to recuperate. So the opportunity to study a person who was going to do the equivalent of two marathons a day for almost 3 months was a tantalizing opportunity for research.
Stan was in essence a guinea pig. All the business aspects and financing was handled on Stan’s side.
The time came to go to Europe. Our first few days were in Cologne where Dr. Mader and his team took Stan through two days of many different medical parameters to draw a base line for comparison. On the run, I would ride alongside Stan on a bicycle. At the end of each day, I would draw a blood sample and would have this sent overnight back to Germany. For research purposes, this was a dream come true. This kind of experiment had never been done before.
Stan was a pioneer in his world of running. Stan had intuitively discovered through his trial and error methods a system which worked for him. He called this an “even flow of emotional and energy distribution.” Now, our goal was to quantify and qualify what was going on in his body to validate and give substance.
The experiment was more than successful. We learned so much. Coaches have destroyed many potential Olympic class athletes by not understanding the basics of what we learned via this experiment. For instance, you cannot put a person into a patho-physiologic state and expect a psycho-therapeutic result.
The secret to human performance is how well the body utilizes oxygen. When a person gets out of breath, it means the person does not have the capillary network to maintain cellular respiration….getting oxygen to the cell and getting rid of the waste product of the cell’s work…carbon dioxide. We know that when lactate builds up, performance is impaired.
There is a “steady state” or level which any athlete in their training and performance levels can stay within and never go into fatigue poisoning. Stan had learned by his trial and errors and together we, as scientists, validated.
I watched in awe, day after day, in bitter cold weather, twenty straight days of cold rain coming down… and the heat of the Sierras of Southern Spain coming upon us…I rode a bike…Stan was running.
It was not just physiology…I witnessed the heart of human achievement. What drives a person? Those questions are for others. I am about the physiology.
The run finished. Stan was surrounded by the media and new fans. After 20 minutes, I had Stan in a car getting him to an Airport in Malaga to be back in Germany the next morning to begin post run medical studies.
The run was a success for Stan for his reasons… and for the world of human performance research, it opened the doors to new possibilities and new thinking… which is standard in thinking and application, to understanding more of the body and the unlimited potential.
Stan is now 70 and is an amazing example of thinking big, achievement, and performance.
As Stan says, “I have just scratched the surface of human potential.” I believe him.