You might remember that a while back we told you about the real-life Forrest Gump, a vet from Liverpool called Rob Pope who has recreated the popular film character’s epic running journey around the USA.
Well, last time we told you about him he had just finished running the London Marathon – which is presumably just a light jog for him – but now he’s taking on another epic challenge. Marriage.
Yep, the 39-year-old has spent 19 months running 15,607 miles across the United States of America, but now plans to marry his long-term (and presumably very patient) girlfriend after he proposed to her after crossing the finish line to end his gargantuan journey.
When he started his run in Mobile, Alabama nearly two years ago he set out to create the journey of Tom Hanks’ character in the 1994 rom-com Forrest Gump. Since then he’s covered the equivalent of nearly 600 marathons – 590 to be exact – without counting the other ones he’s done, such as the London Marathon the other week.
He’s taken on the elements – blistering heat in the desert, blizzard conditions in the mountains – and averaged a whopping 40 miles every day. It’s all for a good cause though, he has raised £37,000 for his chosen charities, World Wildlife Foundation and Peace Direct.
Now, after completing the mammoth task, his fiancée Nadine, with whom he recently celebrated the birth of a daughter, Bee, will presumably want to see a bit more of him.
To be fair, he did take time out of his run to fly home for Bee’s birth. Whilst he was back, he even found time to break the record for the fastest ever London Marathon time by a person in costume – 2 hours and 36 minutes.
After finishing, he spoke at length of the support she has given him over the course of his difficult mission. He said: “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 meant everything to me to have Nadine and our new-born daughter, Bee, there at the finish line.
“Nadine has been my rock, I couldn’t have done it without her – proposing in that moment felt right.
“I can’t wait to show baby Bee all of the photos in a few years’ time.”
He continued: “Seeing my daughter be born was even more motivation – having her and Nadine at the finish was a dream come true.”
But why does he do it? Outside of the charity, it’s because Forrest Gump has a message for us all to aspire to.
Pope said: “Forrest didn’t judge anyone, not on the colour of their skin, background, intelligence or anything else.
“If everyone could be a bit more like Forrest, the world would be a better place.”
True enough. I’m still not running across America though. My knees hurt thinking about it.
by Tom Wood