He just felt like runnin’.

By Meghan Overdeep
March 27, 2017
Run Robla Run - Going The Distance/Facebook

Rob Pope says he just felt like running, so on September 15 he did. And as March nears its close, the man who says he draws his inspiration from Forrest Gump is still running.

A veterinarian originally from Liverpool, England, Pope says he’s always wanted to see the United States. A seasoned marathon runner, he decided that the best way to do it was by foot. So for seven months now he’s been running America’s roads with just a few necessities. With more than 4,400 miles behind him, the now-scruffy Brit has already crossed the nation once.

Like Gump’s, Pope’s run began in Mobile, Alabama, and took him through Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, all the way to Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, California. He’s now turned around and is running Gump’s fictional route across 18 more states to his final stop at Marshall Point Lighthouse in Maine.

Not surprisingly, Pope is even starting to look like Gump, the character made famous by Tom Hanks in the eponymous 1994 film. Unlike his silver-screen idol, however, Pope aims to use his journey to raise both awareness and funds for two “causes he really believes in,” World Wildlife Fund and Peace Direct.

Pope’s journey recently took him through Tennessee, where he caught up with WSMV, a local television station, on his way to Nashville. He told reporters that he’s been struck by how green the Tennessee landscape is, but what he’ll remember most about the Volunteer State is the people. “I was in a restaurant in New Johnsonville last night and it turned out they covered my tab and paid for my hotel,” he told WSMV. “A lot better than staying in a tent.”

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If all continues to go according to plan—and both his health and funds hold out—Pope hopes to be in Boston by the third week of April.  And when he reaches Maine, he may even decide to keep on running!

You can follow Pope’s journey, on both his website and Facebook. You can also donate here.

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