Real-life Forrest Gump raises $30K on run across America

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(WTHR) — British runner Rob Pope set out to run Forrest Gump's route across America in September 2016. By the end of April, he plans to have run hundreds more Miles than Tom Hanks' character in the 1994 film.

"I had been thinking about it for 15 years," Pope told Today. "I kept talking about it to where it got to the point where it was time to put up or shut up."

Pope started in Mobile, Alabama, and has covered 15,300 miles (Forrest said he only ran 15,248) in four cross-country trips. He's documented each journey on his Instagram.

It's not just the running Pope is mimicking. He's got Forrest Gump's look down to a science.

The 39-year-old plans to wrap up this project April 29 at Forrest Gump Point in Utah. That's not until after he plans to run the London Marathon April 23.

Pope plans to make the 200-mile trip from Flagstaff, Arizona to Forrest Gump Point.

He quit his job as an emergency veterinarian to complete the journey, and has largely depended on the generosity of friends and strangers to provide him with necessities like running gear, food and a place to stay along the way.

Had a rough day today. Two things in particular have cheered me up. The first was my lovely hotel room, booked and paid for by an old university buddy and her family, the second was this - a Christmas present held back, given to me by an awesome family who hosted me twice, on legs 2 and 4, in Morristown, Tennessee. If you see the tag, it says "Home is where the heart is". I plan on moving this along every Thursday night now, but tonight, it starts in Morristown! Thanks to all, including you guys. You're keeping me going. #grateful #stayhappy #friends #lookaftereachother www.goingthedistancerun.com #running #run #runner #runnersofinstagram #runchat #runultra #ultra #ultrarunner #ultrarunning #USA #transAmerica #instarunners #fitness #getoutdoors #road #WWF #peacedirect #Nike #goingthedistance #keepgoing #Forrest #Gump #Forrestgump

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There have been scary moments, like when a semi jackknifed right before his eyes on a highway in Tennessee, or when a homeowner greeted him with a carving knife when Pope knocked to ask if he could stay in his trailer.

"He asks me if I had any weapons, and I say, 'No, I'm British — just my razor-sharp wit," Pope said. The homeowner ended up letting him stay for the night, and even made him chili.

Pope has made stops at some notable American landmarks, and even ran through the Crossroads of America.

He's even grown out that iconic hair and beard as he goes longer in his journey.

Pope said the best ending to all this would be for Tom Hanks to welcome him in Utah with his iconic line from the movie: "Now what are we supposed to do?"

While Pope and his followers have reached out to Hanks, there's no indication that Hanks has responded to the requests.

Pope's efforts are not all for naught. He's using his platform to raise money for the World Wildlife Fund — the world's leading conservation organization — and Peace Direct — a group that helps troubled communities find peace through grassroots efforts.

His campaign has already raised $30,000. Visit goingthedistancerun.com to make a donation.

To keep up with the latest in Pope runs, follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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