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Meet The Real-Life Forrest Gump Running In This Year's London Marathon

Tom Wood

| Last updated 

Meet The Real-Life Forrest Gump Running In This Year's London Marathon

Rob Pope likes running. He likes it a lot. In fact, he's done so much running that he has become a real life version of Hollywood's most famous runner, Forrest Gump.

Sure, he's from Liverpool and not Greenbow, Alabama, but Forrest Gump's never-give-up spirit definitely burns within him.

Today Rob is running the London Marathon dressed as Forrest Gump to raise money for his favourite charities.


Ahead of his marathon - complete with huge beard - he tweeted: "Never ever ever stop!!! More carbs! So hyperactive!!"

That's pretty much the attitude you need for this sort of thing.

Actually, the London Marathon is probably more of a light jog for Rob, given what he's used to. He recently finished recreating the route that Gump took on his running mission during the film - which meant running more than 15,000 miles.


That's 15,348 miles, to be precise - and it's worth adding the 348 because that's not an inconsiderable distance for anyone to run.

It took him just 409 days to run the equivalent of 590 marathons, which saw him become the first person dedicated (or batshit, depending how you look at it) enough to take on the route and successfully complete it.

Rob, who works as a vet by day, 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."


It's not easy - or advisable - to be running that amount, especially given the amount of time he has sent in the desert. Naturally, he has picked up some injuries the way.

He has suffered with exhaustion, as well as more common things like muscular tears and Achilles tendon inflammation.

Despite that, ahead of his run he claims to have done very little to prepare. "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."

He continued: "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."

Well, he's mad, but he's doing it for good causes - Peace Direct and the World Wildlife Fund to be exact - so all the best to him for today's London Marathon.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Rob Pope

Topics: Film, TV and Film, Hollywood, Tom Hanks

Tom Wood
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