Do you ever feel embarrassed by the tininess of your personal goals? I mean, I’m pretty pleased with myself most days if I manage to hit a personal writing goal or get all my exercise in or don’t drink that third cup of coffee.
Then I look at someone like 39-year-old British marathoner Rob Pope and think that I need to step up my personal-development game. A longtime runner, Pope had always wanted to jog his way across America.
“I’d had a number of half-hearted attempts trying to put a run together, but after watching ‘Forrest Gump’ one night, I had a light-bulb moment,” he explained to Inside Edition. That idea was to recreate the same route that Tom Hanks’ iconic character took in the Oscar-winning movie.
It was no mean feat to attempt. The total distance would measure more than 15,000 miles, the equivalent of almost 600 marathons, and would cross the United States’ mainland five times.
Pope did more than just retrace Gump’s path. He also let his hair and beard grow into a wild tangle just as the character did.
However, the Liverpool, England, resident didn’t start his run just for the spectacle. He had higher aims in mind.
Recounting how his mother had always urged him to “do one thing in life that makes a difference,” Pope decided to use his epic multi-marathon to raise money for charity. Still, it wasn’t easy.
Pope started his run on September 16, 2016, and finished it 422 days later. He had taken a break to return to England to see his girlfriend give birth to their daughter, and while there, he had run the London Marathon.
So uttering Forrest Gump’s famous line as he crossed the finish line was utterly appropriate: “I’m pretty tired. I think I’ll go home now.”
Pope still had one thing to do, though. He ran to his girlfriend who was waiting with their newborn daughter, dropped to one knee, and asked her to marry him.
“I couldn’t have done it without her,” he said. “Proposing in that moment felt right.”
I won’t keep you in suspense, dear readers! Not only did Pope make history, he got a “yes” from the love of his life.
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