Running in Forrest Gump’s footsteps

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Robert Pope re-creating Forrest Gump’s run. Pic by © Robert Pope

A Croxteth vet is re-creating Forrest Gump’s run across the United States to help wildlife and victims of war.

Robert Pope, 38, is aiming to raise a million pounds by re-enacting his favourite film character’s 16,000 mile run.

Raising funds for the World Wildlife Fund and Peace Direct, Robert hopes to be the first person to replicate Forrest’s achievements.

Speaking direct from America where he is currently on the road, Robert told JMU Journalism: “It struck me a few years ago that it would be amazing to try and replicate Forrest Gump’s run, as while people have run across the USA before, no-one has tried to do this in its entirety.

“People love the film and identify with Forrest. He is inclusive, judges no-one and as I like to think I can get along with pretty much anyone, I figured I’d like to try and repeat his achievement.

“My mum had always told me to do one thing in my life that made a difference and I decided this was it.

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“I chose my causes after a line in the film where they ask Forrest what he was running for. Reporters questioned whether he was running for women’s rights, world peace, the homeless, animals or the environment. Through these two charities [World Wildlife Fund and Peace Direct], I cover all bases.”

Robert Pope re-creating Forrest Gump's run. Pic by © Robert Pope

Robert Pope re-creating Forrest Gump’s run. Pic by © Robert Pope

In the 1994 movie, Forrest runs a three-and-a-half year multiple coast-to-coast journey across the United States.

At the same age as Tom Hanks when filming the movie, Robert aims to complete his run in the same spot as Forrest and hopes for a “huge gaggle of runners trailing me [him] into the distance”.

Robert added: “My ideal outcome is that the run ends where it should, on Highway 163 in Monument Valley, Utah.

“The most important two things however is that I’ve captured people’s imaginations enough to help us raise the desired million-plus for the causes and inspired people to follow their dreams, whatever they may be.

“The toughest part is getting up and out of bed every day, but that’s the same for me whatever I do. I don’t do mornings. Once I’m running though, things are generally just fine.”

About Paige Freshwater, JMU Journalism