39 YO resident of Liverpool, Rob Pope is attempting that was only depicted in the movies. Quite literally! Following the footsteps or maybe the running track of Forrest Gump, a noteworthy character from the namesake movie, Rob has spent approximately 409 days running. That is equal to a whopping 590 marathons put together!
Hanks’ character in the 1994 hit movie ran across the United States. Rob became the first person to imitate the character IRL. He began running on 16 September 2016 in Mobile, Alabama. According to Rob, a good 15 years were spent on planning to do so.
A veterinarian by profession Rob, said:
"I first had the idea to run across America 15 years ago. I thought it would be an incredible way to see a fascinating and beautiful country.”
"I'd had a number of half-hearted attempts trying to put a run together, but after watching Forrest Gump one night, I had a light-bulb moment.”
"My mum, who unfortunately isn't around anymore, was very aware of our impact on the word and always urged me to 'do one thing in life that makes a difference'.”
"I hoped that this run would be an opportunity to do just that - I'm sure she would be very proud.”
"My girlfriend, Nadine; friends; and family have been hugely supportive - I think they've been half expecting me to do something crazy like this for a while."
Setting an average of 40-miles a day wasn’t an easy deal for Rob. He had his own shares of struggles viz. with the weather, blisters and injuries which he got on his running streak. He also landed himself an inflamed Achilles tendon and quadriceps tear. Psychologically too, he had a tough time.
Although Rob had run his fair share of marathons in the UK before coming to the US, he says he wasn’t quite still prepared as he should have been.
"I didn't do any training specifically for the run," he said. "I wish I had done and maintained more core work.”
"You didn't see Forrest doing a Rocky montage in the scenes building up to his run - he just put on his shoes and went. I figured I'd do the same.”
"The journey has been incredibly difficult - I've had a few major injuries, and even food poisoning, too.”
"After my first injury - anterior tibial tendinitis - only 400 miles in, I had a break down in a gas station in front of a poor attendant - I'd put too much into everything to become a failure.”
"I had to change my kit five times a day due to the humidity in the deep south, where temperatures reached over 40C.”
"And in the colder states, I was wearing five layers of clothes to keep warm in -18C temperatures - even my beard froze.”
"The enormity of it all, the repetition and loneliness have been mentally very tough.”
"Fortunately though, I was only ever down for short periods, even if illness or injury persisted longer than that.”
"As a generally very positive person, I had a strong focus - quitting was never going to be an option."
Rob had to halt his endeavor in Arizona so as to be with his partner Nadine in UK who is about to deliver their baby daughter next week.
He will fly back with his wife and new-born daughter to finish the last lap of 200 miles.
"I wanted to finish this journey as a family, so I've flown back to be with Nadine for our baby's birth.”
"So far I've surpassed the supposed number of miles Forrest achieved - 15,248, by about a hundred or so. By the end I'd have run nearly 15,600.”
"I think the film - and specifically the character of Forrest - is a beautiful tale of life and how we should treat one another.”
"Forrest didn't judge anyone, not on the colour of their skin, background, intelligence or anything else.”
"If everyone could be a bit more like Forrest, the world would be a better place.”
"I'm running for WWF and Peace Direct, raising £20,000 for them so far, but I hope to continue fundraising until I reach a million.”
"This is my attempt to make a difference, just as my mum would've wanted.”
"I haven't heard from Tom yet, but I have sent him a postcard of the Port Clyde Lighthouse, when I completed my second crossing.”
"He's an absolute hero of mine, so I'd love to hear from him.”
"I'd love him to finish the final mile with me - wouldn't that be something?"
Really hoping Tom Hanks reads about Rob and reaches out to praise him for his noble cause!
Information & image source: ladbible