tags | Robert Pope stereotypes icons forrest gump twitter [philanthropy charity not much money]
He may not have had a spot on the All-American Ping Pong team or initiated Watergate, but Robert Pope of Liverpool, England, comes just about as close to Forrest Gump as a person can get. For the past seven months, the 38-year-old vetrinarian has been running across the United States, tracing the exact route Gump did in the 1994 Tom Hanks classic. He’s even sporting the signature beard and red baseball hat.
Pope started in Alabama—Gump’s home state—then ran to California, New Mexico, Texas, Tennessee, and Washington D.C. before working his way up the east coast for the Boston Marathon, which he ran in 2:58:46 with a can of Bud Light in hand for part of the way.
A tough day, but worth it to get to here. A tough 5,000 miles, but worth it to get to here! Thanks for support! pic.twitter.com/26idW3aIPM
— Robert Pope (@runroblarun) April 4, 2017
So why is he doing all this? Besides the movie being one of his favorites—he's watched the entire thing 10 times and the running scene about 100 times—Pope wanted to raise money for causes that meant something to him.
“I’ve always wanted to run across America because I've always been intrigued by the culture, music, movies, and people in the states,” Pope told Runner's World. “I knew I wanted to raise money for charity, so I thought I might as well take it all a step further."
And he did. Although he chose The World Wildlife Fund and Peace Direct because they reflect his own values, it's no accident that these two organizations cover all the topics Gump was asked if he was running for: world peace, women's rights, the homeless, the environment, and animals. Pope also wanted to disprove some theories that Gump's run wasn't possible.
"I can be in the middle of nowhere and still bond with people over this movie, because everyone has seen it."
He has run over 5,600 miles and raised $11,203.91 (£8,761.95) so far, and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. He’s headed to the Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde, Maine, and hopes to get there by the end of this week. From there, he'll turn back around to continue his journey across the country for a third consecutive time, aiming to hit Chicago come June. But he's currently still in the Boston area after re-running the marathon route again, because why not?
"Being able to stop in the middle and have a lunch break sure was great," he said.
Pope is most looking forward to running the Richard V. Woods Memorial Bridge in Beaufort, South Carolina, where he'll recreate this iconic scene:
I Just Felt Like Running GIF from Forrestgump GIFs
"Forrest Gump was just out there doing his own thing," Pope said. "Everyone was like, 'so you just ran?' and he was like, 'yeah.' So I'm channeling that."