Meet Rob, The Real-Life Forrest Gump

Photo: Instagram/Rob Pope

What made Forrest Gump so damn charming was that no matter how many challenges the Tom Hanks character faced in his fictional life, he always overcame them. In more ways than one, many of us aspired to be like Gump … except for the running across America part …

UNLESS YOU’RE ROB POPE!

The Australian Marathon champion decided to recreate Gump’s run across American. He’s already run over 5,500 miles.

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Okay, above is the real Forrest.

Below is Rob!

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Photo: Instagram/Rob Pope

Of course the Liverpool, UK native has gone through countless shoes and apparel since his journey — not just his best Gump outfit.

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Photo: Instagram/Rob Pope

And of course everyone wants to know why he would put himself through so much torture. I mean, millions of people love to run every day — but America is over 100 marathons long, meaning Rob has already run from Mobile, AL to Santa Monica, CA, and now he’s in Maine inching closer to Marshall Point Lighthouse …. where he “might just turn around and keep running!” according to his website!

While Rob is obviously a big Gump fan, he’s not just doing it for attention. He has a passion for charity. As Rob runs, he’s hoping to raise awareness for Jenny, er, I mean, World Wildlife Fund and Peace Direct. He’s raised thousands of dollars for each already. He hopes to raise $1 million.

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“Reporters asked Forrest whether he was running for women’s rights, world peace, the homeless, animals or the environment. So through these two charities, I’m covering all five bases… Forrest doesn’t judge anyone on race or intelligence or standing, he just saw people as they were. So in a similar way, I’m just trying to bring a bit of sunshine to people’s lives.”

He also commented on how tough the never-ending run has been.

“There’s been some tough mornings when I think… I have to do this all again, and again tomorrow… but then, I’d be exactly like that with my normal job, or if I was a Formula One driver. I just hate mornings.”

Rob also has to ingest about 6,000 calories a day to keep his body in gear for the brutal runs … and to keep up his energy for all the epic photo opps.

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Photo: Instagram/Rob Pope

This is what Rob told Red Bull at the beginning of his journey last fall:

“I have some history in trying to do the best I can, just like Tom Hanks’ character in Forrest Gump. I’ve always liked running, it’s cathartic and is an integral part of who I am, but in recent years I have tried to find my limits. I trained harder than ever and managed to get into a position where I am the current Australian Men’s Marathon champion and have also won the Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon for the last two years.

And here is one of Rob’s videos while on a run in the middle of nowhere, in his Bubba Gump Shrimp hat, in all his glory!

And finally, as if I weren’t cheering him on already, Rob sent me a tweet within seconds after adding him as a friend. This was the exchange:

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Photo: Twitter

Yup. I can’t wait to meet this guy. We’re all cheering you on, buddy! And that’s all I have to say about that.

Follow Rob on his journey here on Twitter.

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Josh Helmuth is a contributor for Mandatory and the editor of Crave Sports.