Most dedicated distance runners have heard “run, Forest, run” shouted at them from hecklers who are usually in cars. The quintessential movie phrase gets thrown around all the time, but when Rob Pope hears it, it means so much more.
After all, he’s the “real-life Forrest Gump,” and has run across the United States four times since 2016 (he’s also the first person to run across it three times in one year). And on April 23, he set a new world record at the London Marathon.
The 39-year-old veterinarian from the United Kingdom became the fastest person to ever run a marathon in a film character costume when he ran London in 2 hours, 36 minutes and 28 seconds.
“I can run like the wind blows,” he told inews after the race. “Today was unbelievable. I had so many ‘Run Forrest run’ shouts – a couple of ‘beardy man’ and a couple ‘Jesus’ but mostly Forrest Gump!”
Pope has spent the past couple of years re-tracing the steps of the fictional character from the six-time Academy Award winning film, “Forrest Gump.” He has run more than 15,000 miles, starting in Alabama and running “to California to Maine, back to California, over to South Carolina, and then finishing in Monument Valley (Utah).”
In the movie, Gump says, “That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run” before jogging across America five times.
Well, Pope decided to stray from Gump’s philosophy a bit, so he’s running to raise money for World Wide Fund for Nature and Peace Direct.
“In the film, Forrest Gump, they ask him ‘why are you doing this? Are you running for women’s rights? world peace? the homeless? the environment? animals?’ and between those two charities (World Wide Fund for Nature and Peace Direct), they cover all those bases,” Pope said.
15,000 miles. 2500 x height of #Everest, 200 x the length of Hadrian’s Wall, a fifteenth of the way to the #moon, four times as long as the #Amazon and #GreatWall of China and 5.5 x the distance from #LA to #NYC…or…this run, which has consisted of about 400 days of rubber on tarmac. 37.5 miles a day. #goingthedistance. www.goingthedistancerun.com #running #run #runner #runnersofinstagram #runchat #runultra #ultra #ultrarunner #ultrarunning #USA #transAmerica #instarunners #fitness #getoutdoors #road #WWF #peacedirect #Nike #goingthedistance #keepgoing #Forrest #Gump #forrestgump
World Wide Fund is the leading organization in wildlife conservation while Peace Direct is a charity dedicated to stopping wars “one person at a time.”
“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,'” Pope said.
So, how did he prepare for the run? He didn’t, just like Forrest Gump.
“I didn’t do any training specifically for the run,” he told LadBible. “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.”
Pope is nearing the end of his quest to conquer America’s roads. He’ll reach Monument Valley on April 29.
The big question is: Will he have parting words better than “I’m pretty tired. I think I’ll go home now?”